Division of Marine Fisheries Extends Trap Fishing Gear Closure in Cape Cod Bay

As a result of the ongoing presence of endangered right whales feeding in Cape Cod Bay, the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) today announced that most of Cape Cod Bay will remain closed to the setting of recreational and commercial traps and pots for an additional week, through May 7, 2017. Right whales are common in Cape Cod Bay during late winter and early spring, especially during the months of March and April, and usually depart before May 1, when the three month (February – April) trap closure affecting this area was scheduled to be lifted. However, over the past month an unprecedented number of whales have been observed, with mid-April counts demonstrating a presence of more than 200 whales. While the most recent survey suggests some whales may have departed the Bay, an estimated 100 to 200 individuals remain present. This late seasonal presence of whales corresponds with extraordinarily high densities of plankton (Calanus copepods), the preferred food of right whales.  Read the press release here with imagery 14:43