USA Fixed Gear Fisheries
The North Atlantic Right Whale is on the brink of extinction. Less than 400 of these whales remain. Depleted by whaling last century, it is entanglement in fishing lines which, alongside vessel strikes, is primarily responsible for their continued decline today.
The right whales’ feeding grounds off the East coast of the USA overlaps with that of several fixed fisheries including gillnets, lobster and crab gear. Unable to detect the lines used in these fisheries, whales become easily entangled and the result is often lethal.
The loss of just one right whale threatens the future of the entire species. Yet, between 12 and 81 right whales become entangled in these lines each year. Some carry the line with them for years, embedded in the skin or worse, cut through to the bone. Unable to feed or swim properly the whales often suffer a painful and slow death.
WDCS is pressing for the US Government to implement measures which will ensure the right whale’s survival, including the implementation of crucial regulations for fisheries to use sinking line, and modify buoy lines, which reduces the amount of line floating in the water.