Lobstermen invited to give their thoughts on whale and lobster gear
The Maine Lobstermen's Association (MLA) has scheduled a series of meetings, one in each of the state's seven lobster zones, to discuss current research on interactions between lobster gear and endangered whales. The purpose of the meetings is to get feedback from lobstermen about future research projects that they think would add knowledge about this topic.
March 16: Zone E DMR Boothbay Large Conference Room 8 am - 12 pm
March 16: Zone F Yarmouth Town Hall Community Room 2 - 6 pm
March 17: Zone G McArthur Library Community Room Biddeford 9:30 am - 1:30 pm
North Atlantic right whales are an endangered species listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. The whales suffer injuries when they become entangled in fishing nets, lobster gear or are struck by large ships. The MLA has worked in collaboration with the Consortium for Wildlife Bycatch Reduction for the past three years on multiple research and outreach projects aimed at identifying practical solutions to the problem of right whales becoming entangled in fishing gear.
The meetings this winter will include a summary of current research on the properties of ropes used in the lobster fishery and development of new ropes. MLA staff will present the Association's efforts to characterize lobster gear in the Gulf of Maine and its involvement in engineering studies designed to better understand how whales become entangled in rope. The MLA, in collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, is also seeking feedback on a new computer modeling exercise created to forecast the risk of Maine lobster gear entangling a right whale.
The Maine Lobstermen's Association is the oldest lobstering association in the state of Maine. Its mission is to protect and enhance the lobster industry in Maine and the people and communities that depend on it.
Heather Tetreault, Whale Projects Coordinator
659-3443 or 967-4555