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CONTACT:
Cheri Patterson or Doug Grout: 603-868-1095
July 1, 2011

Public Scoping Meeting July 22 in Portsmouth on Additional Measures to Reduce Entanglement Risk with Vertical Lines for Large Whales

DURHAM, N.H. – The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will host a scoping meeting for the public to provide input on the development of conservation measures intended to reduce the risk of serious injury and mortality of large whales due to entanglements in the vertical lines of commercial trap/pot and gillnet fishing gear.  The meeting will be held on Friday, July 22, 2011, at 5:00 p.m. at the Comfort Inn, 1190 Lafayette Road, in Portsmouth, NH 03801.

In the past, with the help of the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team, NOAA Fisheries Service (NMFS) developed the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan (ALTWTRP), implementing conservation measures that led to regulation changes instituting weak links (fixed buoy gear designed to release at certain breaking strengths) and sinking groundline for fixed gear fisheries.

Now NMFS intends to expand the ALWTRP to include measures targeted at reducing the serious injury or mortality of large whales that interact with vertical lines. As part of this process, NMFS is seeking public input on viable modifications to fishing practices that will reduce the risk of entanglements with vertical line.  N.H. Fish and Game is hosting the July 22 scoping meeting to begin these discussions with industry members.  The N.H. meeting is one of 16 public scoping meetings that will occur during July and August (www.nero.noaa.gov/whaletrp/VerticalLineScoping) in states from Maine to Florida. These meetings are an opportunity for the public to provide comment on management options to state managers and NMFS as a final rule is developed to address vertical line entanglement by 2014.

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