New endline-reduction proposal centers on seasonally closed areas, trap trawl measures
GLOUCESTER, MA – On July 16, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMF) published its long-anticipated proposal to further protect endangered whales by reducing the number of endlines in the water.
Comments will be accepted through Sept. 16 and public hearings will be held in August and September (see schedule next page).
The proposed rule is the latest in a series of steps NMFS has taken since the creation of the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan in 1997 to reduce the risk of entanglement to three stocks of large whales – fin, humpback, and North Atlantic right whales. First came gear modifications, including weak links. Then, in 2008, came sinking groundline requirements.
This time, the agency is proposing to further cut whale entanglement risk by reducing the number of “vertical lines,” more commonly called buoy lines or endlines, fishermen use on their fixed gear…
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