National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries is asking for input on proposed modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan, which is aimed to reduce risk to whales from U.S. commercial fisheries.
The modifications are Phase 2 of the agency’s efforts to lessen the incidental mortality and serious injury to North Atlantic right whales, fin whales and humpback whales in U.S. East Coast gillnet, Atlantic mixed species trap and pot, and Mid-Atlantic lobster and Jonah crab trap and pot fisheries to meet the goals of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act.
Phase 1 addresses the Northeast lobster and Jonah crab trap and pot fishery, and is currently in review at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Officials expect it to be finalized shortly. The Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan page will be updated and additional background information will be added in the coming weeks.
There are several virtual meetings planned for the public to provide input and suggest ideas for Phase 2. The public can also participate by calling in by phone on certain days or sending written comments by email. The scoping period ends Oct. 21.
Scoping meetings will be held 6:30-8:30 p.m. via webinar. Days are designated for areas and gear types, though anyone is welcome to attend any meeting and may submit input on any region or gear types. Meetings will be recorded. To register for a webinar, visit the events page. Find out more about scoping.
- Thursday, Sept. 9: Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and northern North Carolina trap and pot fisheries.
- Tuesday, Sept. 14: Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey trap and pot fisheries.
- Tuesday, Sept. 21: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island trap and pot fisheries.
- Thursday, Sept. 23: Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey Gillnet fisheries.
- Tuesday, Oct. 5: Southern North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida trap and pot fisheries and gillnet fisheries.
- Tuesday, Oct. 12: Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and Northern North Carolina gillnet fisheries.
- Thursday, Oct. 14: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Gillnet fisheries.
To speak to someone at the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office call 978-282-8479 from noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 1, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 4 or 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 12. The phone call may be recorded. If the phone line is busy, please leave a voicemail. The phone line will not be operational outside of these days and hours.
Submit written input by Oct. 21 to nmfs.gar.ALWTRT2021@noaa.gov.