Drag from fishing gear entangling North Atlantic right whales


van der Hoop, J.M., Corkeron, P., Kenney, J., Landry, S., Morin, D., Smith, J. and Moore, M.J.



Journal/Publisher Name: 

Marine Mammal Science

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Contact information: 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology‐Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science and Engineering, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, U.S.A. jvanderhoop@whoi.edu

This study evaluated drag characteristics of entangled North Atlantic right whales, contextualized gear drag measurements for individual whales and quantified the benefits of partial disentanglement. A load cell was used to measure drag forces on 15 sets of fishing gear removed from entangled right whales, a towed satellite telemetry buoy and 200 m of polypropylene line as it was shored to 25 m, as they were towed behind a vessel at -0.77, 1.3 and 2.1 m/s and 0, 3 and 6 m depth. Information suggests that on average entanglements increase drag and propulsive power by 1.47 fold. Reducing trailing line length by 75% can reduce parasitic gear drag by 85%.