GOM gillnetters under Oct/Nov closure to protect harbor porpoise

MYSTIC, CT – Gillnet fishermen will be prohibited from working in a large area of the inshore Gulf of Maine annually during October and November until harbor porpoise bycatch rates drop dramatically or major changes are made to existing rules under the Harbor Porpoise Take Reduction Plan (TRP).

From September 2010 through May 2011, the harbor porpoise bycatch rate in this extremely productive fishing area was more than double the amount allowed under the TRP.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) surmised that the problem resulted from inadequate compliance with pingers – those acoustic deterrent devices seasonally required on gillnets. Fishermen either had too few pingers or, in what seemed to be the bigger issue, they deployed nonfunctional pingers, presumably ….  MORE


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