Fishing gear involved in entanglements of right and humpback whales


Johnson, A., Salvador, G., Kenney, J., Robbins, J., Kraus, S., Landry, S. and P. Clapham



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Marine Mammal Science

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Entanglements of 31 right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) and 30 humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the western North Atlantic were analyzed to identify the parts and types of gear involved. The results indicated that a large number of specific gear types were involved in entanglements. Gear type could not be identified in 20% of entanglements. When gear type was identified, 89% of entanglements were caused by pot and gillnet gear. Pot gear was recovered from both species in equal amounts but gillnet gear was more frequently retrieved from humpbacks compared to right whales. For the 45 cases in which parts of the gear were retrieved, entanglements occurred in buoy line and/or groundline (49%), in float and surface system lines (11%), with 40% of cases in which the gear components were unknown. Right whales were most commonly entangled in the mouth (77.4%), while humpback whales were frequently entangled in both the mouth (43%) and tail (53%). Continued studies of entanglement are needed to provide additional insight.

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