Proposed Rule to Amend the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to Reduce Risk of Serious Injury and Mortality to North Atlantic Right Whales Caused by Entanglement in Northeast Crab and Lobster Trap/Pot Fisheries
NOAA Fisheries proposes to amend the regulations implementing the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to reduce the incidental mortality and serious injury to North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis), fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in northeast commercial lobster and crab trap/pot fisheries to meet the goals of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. In addition, this action also proposes a small revision to Federal regulations implemented under the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commissions’ Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Lobster to increase the maximum length of a lobster trap trawl groundline. This action is necessary to reduce the risks to North Atlantic right whales and other large whales associated with the presence of fishing gear in waters used by these animals.
Comments will be accepted at public hearings in February and through the regulations.gov website. The comment portal is open through March 1, 2021. To comment, choose the "Comment" button on the regulations.gov proposed rule page or go to regulations.gov and search for NOAA-NMFS-2020-0031.