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Science & Environment

Feds Ask for Feedback on Proposed Fishing Rules to Protect Right Whales

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OAA PHOTO LIBRARY / CREATIVECOMMONS.ORG/LICENSES/BY/2.0/

Federal officials want feedback on proposed regulations to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales from entanglement in fishing gear. 

The first of four public hearings to discuss the proposed protections will begin tonight at 6:30 pm. Here's the link for registering for the online meeting. Those who can’t make the public hearings can submit comments to the proposed rule online until March 1. 

 

The new rules from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would modify gear marking to introduce state-specific marking colors, add weak rope that breaks under the strength of an adult right whale, and require other gear configurations that reduce the number of vertical buoy lines in the water by requiring more traps between buoy lines.

 

They would also impose seasonal fishing closures in up to two new areas and make way for ropeless fishing in existing closures. 

 

Several conservation groups have spoken out against the proposed protections, saying, for example, that weak rope doesn’t do enough to save juvenile whales and other endangered marine species that are threatened by entanglement.