Lobstermen Open to
Area-Specific Endline Rules
by Laurie Schreiber
ELLSWORTH – Lobster fishermen here were generally receptive to proposed rules aimed at reducing the risk of vertical trap-line entanglement to endangered whales.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) held four hearings in August, to get feedback on the proposed measures, which came in the form of six alternatives for its Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan (ALWTRP).
The alternatives “seek to reduce large whale entanglement by increased traps per trawl, requiring gear marking and the use of weak links and/or vertical lines of lower breaking strength,” NMFS said. “These changes are designed to address right, humpback, and fin whale entanglements resulting in serious injury or mortality.”
NMFS will select one of the alternatives for implementation in the final rule. The proposed implementation date is the fall of 2014.