Unlikely alliance advocates for whales

An unusual coalition of lobster fishers, marine scientists, and rope manufacturers is banding together to save the whales—and catch more lobsters.

The idea is to come up with buoy lines to mark submerged lobster traps that will break loose when a whale becomes entangled in them, which can seriously injure or even kill the animals.

A pair of grants worth nearly $200,000 was awarded Thursday by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust to help develop buoy lines that are strong enough to withstand the elements and haul in lobster traps but weak enough to prevent whale entanglements.

The effort to find the right balance was launched by the 109-member South Shore Lobstermen’s Association about two years ago after the National Marine Fisheries Service closed a 3,000-square-mile area off the coast of Massachusetts to fishers from February to April, when whales frequent those waters.

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About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 13 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

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