Incremental fishing gear modifications fail to significantly reduce large whale serious injury rates

Pace, R.M., Cole, T.V.N., and A. G. Henry
Journal/Publisher Name
Endangered Species Research
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The annual counts of large whale entanglements (including serious injury and mortalities) were analyzed and used to assess the effectiveness of the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan. Fishing gear entanglements related to the annual number of mortality events averaged 2.5 for right whales (Eubalaena glacialis), 5.6 for humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae), 0.6 for fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) and 2.4 for minke whales (B. acutorostrata). Annual entanglement rates increased during the study period (1999-2009), increased rates of entanglement-related mortality were equivocal. There were no significant changes in waiting time in response to any management measures implemented to reduce large whale mortalities between 1999 and 2009. This implies the measures were generally ineffective.