NOAA Fisheries Publishes
Proposed Rule Describing
Seasonal Area Management
NMFS Northeast Region
N E W SGloucester, Mass. --NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service seeks public comment on new measures to further protect large whales, particularly North Atlantic right whales, from entanglement in fishing gear. The comment period will be open for 15 days (until December 13, 2001).
The proposal was published in the Federal Register today and can be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Whale Plan website. Additional details about the proposed rule can be found in an October 3, 2001 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, available on the same site (look under "The Plan").
The measures propose two new management areas east of Cape Cod, Mass., that would be in effect every year during times when right whales have been shown to congregate within them. During those times, lobster pot and gillnet gear set within the boundaries of the areas would have to be modified to make the gear less likely to entangle whales.