Whale entanglements in lobster gear to be topic of seven meetings

Posted Feb. 25, 2012, at 2:20 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 26, 2012, at 8:42 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — The Maine Lobstermen’s Association and two research organizations will hold seven meetings in coastal communities beginning Monday to help fishermen learn about the latest research into interactions between whales and lobster gear.

The sessions are part of the ongoing discussion over ways to reduce the likelihood of whales — and particularly endangered North Atlantic right whales — from becoming entangled in the ropes used for hauling lobster traps and other fishing gear. Federal regulators required lobstermen to switch to sinking rope in 2009 and are considering other regulatory changes.

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association, the Consortium for Wildlife Bycatch Reduction and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute will hold sessions on the following dates:

  1. Monday, Feb. 27 at the University of Maine at Machias from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  2. Tuesday, Feb. 28 at the Bar Harbor Town Office from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  3. Wednesday, Feb. 29 at the Bucksport Town Office from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  4. Wednesday, Feb. 29 at Lincoln Street Center in Rockland from 2 to 6 p.m.
  5. Friday, March 16 at the Department of Marine Resources laboratory in Boothbay from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  6. Friday, March 16 at the Yarmouth Town Hall from 2 to 6 p.m.
  7. Saturday, March 17 at McArthur Library in Biddeford from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Additionally, the association will host a session titled, “How do Whales get Entangled in Fishing Gear? Using Reverse Engineering to Understand Whale Entanglements” during the Maine Fishermen’s Forum in Rockport from 1 to 4:15 p.m. March 1.

For information about the coming sessions, contact Heather Tetreault, the association’s whale projects coordinator, at 659-3443.