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Public Meeting Notice

Public Meeting Notice Scoping Meeting: MA Response to Anticipated Changes to Federal Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan Affecting Trap Fisheries

Wednesday, February 19, 2020
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Posted: January 28, 2020 11:43 a.m.
  • Last Updated: January 28, 2020 11:50 a.m.

Address

Gloucester Field Office
30 Emerson Avenue, Gloucester, MA 01930

Contact for Scoping Meeting: MA Response to Anticipated Changes to Federal Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan Affecting Trap Fisheries

Division of Marine Fisheries - Boston Office

Address

251 Causeway Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02114

Overview of Scoping Meeting: MA Response to Anticipated Changes to Federal Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan Affecting Trap Fisheries

In response to recent population trends, NOAA Fisheries’ Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team (TRT) has been working to amend the ALWTRP to consider federal regulatory adjustments to reduce the risk of serious injury and mortality posed by trap fishing gear, specifically vertical buoy lines, to endangered right whales that may become entangled therein. The TRT subsequently endorsed a preliminary framework that established a 60% risk reduction target. Over the course of the last year, DMF staff has been working with NOAA fisheries to provide updated data analyses and regulatory advice. The purpose of this meeting will be to review NOAA Fisheries analyses regarding how the state can achieve this federally imposed risk reduction target. Comments received will help DMF engage on federal rule making moving forward.

Right whales are a critically endangered species. They seasonally migrate into Massachusetts waters and aggregate in Cape Cod Bay to feed on zooplankton during the late-winter and early-spring. In recent years about 65% of the known right whale population has been seasonally observed in our waters. The entanglement of whales in fixed fishing gear, particularly vertical buoy lines, is a substantial source of human-caused mortality. 

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