NOAA pleads for urgency in right whale conservation, lobster gear changes

A previously unscheduled appearance before the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council gave the opportunity for NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Janet Coit to advocate for the necessity of adapting to new lobster and crab trapping gear to save both North Atlantic right whales and the lobster industry. A deal cut by Maine legislators in a recent congressional spending bill delayed new right whale protections for six years, so the agency is looking to have its new rules set up and ready to go when that period expires. In the meantime, there’s options open to expand on-demand fishing gear so there are fewer large ropes suspended in the water. The bill allocated $26 million to ASMFC for ropeless, on-demand gear, along with monitoring and cost recovery. >click to read< 08:09

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