NOAA Testing Ropeless Lobster Fishing Gear

HYANNIS – Ropeless lobster fishing gear is being tested by federal officials off the coast of Massachusetts.

NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center has partnered with dozens of commercial lobster fishing boats permitted by the government to assess the ropeless gear, which is also referred to as on-demand gear

The testing will take place in federal zones that are typically not open to fishing with vertical lines. Inspections are also being conducted off of Rhode Island.

The government is testing alternative methods to trap and pot fishing in an attempt to protect animals such as the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, a species that has been threatened by fishing gear entanglements in the past.

The whales, which are estimated to number less than 350, frequently travel to the Cape area each winter.

These trials come as NOAA recently extended a ban on lobster and crab fishing in certain Massachusetts waters, including Cape Cod Bay and areas to the east of the Outer Cape and Nantucket.

Testing on the ropeless gear is scheduled to run through April 30.

About Brendan Fitzpatrick

Brendan, a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of the newest members of the NewsCenter team. When not on the beat, you'll probably find him watching Boston sports.
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