The Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) is holding an informal public scoping meeting on Wednesday January 4, 2012, at 6:30 PM at the Plymouth North High School auditorium, to discuss the federal Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan (ALWTRP) and future impacts on fixed gear fisheries within Massachusetts, as well as trends in the abundance and distribution of whales in the coastal waters of Massachusetts.  This meeting is designed to bring Massachusetts coastal lobster permit holders up to date on the current requirements and discuss potential future regulatory changes forthcoming from the January 9-13 ALWTRP meeting that includes fishermen, managers, scientists and conservationists from Maine to Florida.

This meeting is informal and no specific proposals will be presented.  During July 2011, NMFS held three “scoping” meetings in Massachusetts concerning new strategies to reduce risk of entanglement from buoy lines.  In advance of the upcoming ALWTRP meeting, DMF hopes to get more input from the fishing public on some of the proposed measures.  DMF staff will be available to answer technical or management questions you have pertaining to the fixed gear fisheries and whale conservation.    

The Plymouth North High School is located at 41 Obery Street in Plymouth, MA.  Take Route 3 to exit 5 (Long Pond Rd/South Street).  Keep right at fork heading towards Long Pond Road/South Street then make a quick left onto Long Pond Road/South Street.  Take first right onto Obery Street and the destination will be on your left.