Teri Frady
(508) 495-2239


September 20, 2005

NMFS Northeast Regional Office

N         E         W         S

Agency Seeks More Details
on Whale-Safe Fishing Gear Option

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is encouraging further discussion about fishing line that reduces the risks of large whale entanglement, and is more economical for some fishing operations to use than line that lies on the ocean bottom.

This month, the agency has scheduled five workshops along the East Coast on so-called “low-profile” groundline. Each meeting will focus on the fishing ground nearest to the meeting location. Invited participants will work through a day-long agenda. The public is invited to observe and provide individual comments.

Large whales can be seriously injured or killed by entanglement in some fishing gear used in waters off the eastern United States. One way to reduce this risk is to use line that lies on the ocean bottom in fishing operations that tether a series of traps or pots together using groundline.

Some operations, however, occur over rough bottom such as rocks, reefs, or wrecks. Using line that lies flat on this type of bottom could result in gear snags and loss. Many have suggested using a line that floats enough to reduce gear loss on rough bottom while still providing protection for large whales in such areas. The agency is specifically looking for a range of information to describe where and at what height such a “low profile” line should be used, how it could be configured and marked, and what would happen if an entanglement occurred with low-profile line.

All meeting summaries will be provided to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team, a NMFS advisory group, in the fall of 2005 for use in ongoing discussions about low profile groundline gear modifications.

For more information on the workshops, please visit the workshop website.

NOAA Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources and their habitats through scientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries Service provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with our federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

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NOAA Fisheries - Northeast Fisheries Science Center
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