Extension a Response
To Rough Weather
in Gulf of Maine
NMFS Northeast Region
N E W SGloucester, Mass. – Lobster trap and gillnet fishermen in the Gulf of Maine will have until February 21, 2001 to bring their fishing gear into compliance with a federal plan to protect whales from entanglement. The February 21 effective date is a 30-day delay from the January 22 effective date announced in December.
NOAA Fisheries announced the extension today in response to rough weather conditions in January that made it impossible for some Gulf of Maine fishermen to bring their gear into compliance with the new regulations. The 30-day extension is not expected to adversely affect endangered North Atlantic right whales because available sighting data suggests that most right whales currently in New England waters are congregated in Cape Cod Bay.
The new regulations, which were published in the Federal Register December 21, 2000, amend the 1999 Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan (ALWTRP). A summary of the regulations and other background on the ALWTRP is available on the NOAA Fisheries Northeast Whale Plan Web Site.
Notice of the extension to February 21, 2001, was published today in the Federal Register and is available at the Whale Plan Web Site. It can also be obtained by writing to Douglas Beach. NMFS/Northeast Region, 1 Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930.