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Proposed Rule to Close the Wedge Area within the Massachusetts Restricted Area


Fishing Type
Affected Species
North Atlantic Right Whale
Humpback Whale
Fin Whale
Action Status
Proposed Rule
Comments Close
10/18/2023 - Comment Now
Point of Contact
Jennifer Goebel, Marine Mammal Policy Analyst, (978) 290-0203


NOAA Fisheries is proposing an amendment to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to expand the boundaries of the Massachusetts Restricted Area to include the wedge between state and federal waters known as the Massachusetts Restricted Area Wedge. The Massachusetts Restricted Area Wedge was closed by emergency rulemaking in 2022 and 2023 due to the immediate risk to North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) mortality and serious injury caused by buoy lines in an area with a high co-occurrence of whales and buoy lines. This risk is expected to recur annually. This action will address this gap in protection and reduce the incidental mortality and serious injury of right whales, fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in commercial trap/pot fisheries.

We will be holding two public hearings on September 26 and 28. The comment period is open through October 18. Please submit comments through regulations.gov and use NOAA-NMFS-2023-0083-0001 to find the comment page, or use the Comment Now feature in the Federal Register notice.

Federal Register

Last updated by Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office on 09/22/2023

Take Reduction