New Whale Protection Rules Affect Lobster Pots/Traps and Gillnet Gear -- February 7, 2002 2002/02/02 New Whale Protection Rules

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Rules Include

Gear Modifications,

Seasonal Area Management,

and Dynamic Area Management

George Liles
(508) 495-2378
Teri Frady
(508) 495-2239


NMFS Northeast Region

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Gloucester, Mass. -- Changes in federal rules protecting whales from entanglement in fishing gear go into effect this month and next. Documents summarizing the rule changes are posted on the NOAA Fisheries Northeast Region's Whale Plan website.

The new rules affect fishermen who use lobster pots or traps or gillnets in certain areas of the Atlantic. The rules amend the regulations that implement the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan.

One new rule that goes into effect February 11 requires modifications to lobster pot/trap gear set in Mid-Atlantic and offshore lobster waters, and gillnet gear set in the Mid-Atlantic region. A whale protection program known as Seasonal Area Management goes into effect March 1, and a program known as Dynamic Area Management goes into effect February 8.

A description of the new rules can be found in a Permit Holder letter posted on the website (see "2002 Rule Changes" under the heading "What's New"). A summary of the whale protection plan, as amended by the new rules, is also available (see "Summary of the Plan" under the heading "About the Plan").

The new rules were published in the Federal Register and are available under the heading "The Plan."

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