National Fisherman


ROCKPORT, Maine - Preventing endangered northern right whales from becoming entangled in lobster gear could be as simple as changing the color of rope, a whale researcher says.
 
If the whales can see the fishing gear more clearly, then they are better able to avoid it, said Scott Kraus, a leading researcher on northern right whales.
 
"We know they can see the ropes. We thought by making them more visible they might be like traffic cones" by steering whales away from danger, Kraus said at the Maine Fishermen's Forum, an annual fishing industry event that draws together fishermen, regulators, researchers and other industry officials.
 
North Atlantic right whales, whose large eyes are adapted to the low light of the ocean, may be more sensitive to certain colors, the New England Aquarium scientist said.
 
Kraus and other researchers set out three years ago to determine whether the whales respond to some colors more than others. Intercepting feeding whales in Cape Cod Bay, off the shore of Massachusetts, they placed in the water lengths of colored PVC pipe, representing pieces of rope that attach traps to buoys.
 
When the whales approached, the scientists measured the distance from the whales' eyes at the moment when they reacted to the suspended "rope."
 
Not all colors evoked the same reaction.
 
Read the full story at the Cape Cod Times>>

Inside the Industry

The Obama Administration recently announced that it is looking for candidates to be considered for a sustainable fishing prize.

The White House Champion for Change for Sustainable Seafood designation will honor individuals for “contributing to the ongoing recovery of America’s fishing industry and our fishing communities.”

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The American Fisheries Society is honoring recently retired Florida Institute of Oceanography director Bill Hogarth with the Carl R. Sullivan Fishery Conservation Award — one of the nation's premier awards in fisheries science - in recognition of his long career and leadership in preserving some of the world's most threatened species, advocating for environmental protections and leading Florida's scientific response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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