Approved Weak Inserts and Line for the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan
Learn which weak inserts and line are approved for use under the 2021 Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan modifications and how to install weak inserts.
New requirements for gear marking and weak line go into effect May 1, 2022 under the 2021 modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan. These requirements apply to the Northeast Lobster/Jonah crab trap/pot fishery only. Requirements for all other areas, other trap/pot fisheries, and gillnet fisheries remain the same.
The modifications remove the requirement for weak link at buoys and other surface system flotation devices, though they are not prohibited, and adds requirements for weak rope or insertions within the buoy line.
Approved Fully Formed Weak Rope
Average breaking strengths were determined through 10 consecutive tests on a calibrated rope-breaking machine at the NEFSC lab in 2021. To be approved, the average breaking strength must be within 10 percent of 1,700 lbs. These tests are the basis for NOAA Fisheries approval of this rope. Currently the fully formed weak ropes approved for use are:
Shippagan 3/8" has been removed from this list and is no longer approved.
- The approved three-strand ropes can be spliced into traditional buoy ropes to create inserts, or they can be used to replace standard rope as full weak rope connected to your regular line using a splice at the depth required for your fishing area (the depth of your lowest required weak insertion or the proportion of your rope required to be weak).
- The approved braided ropes can be used as full weak rope (but not inserts) connected to your regular line using a knot at the depth required for your fishing area (the depth of your lowest required weak insertion or the proportion of your rope required to be weak).
Approved Weak Inserts and Links
Below are images of approved weak inserts and links, as well as videos on how to install approved weak inserts. Many of these are available at Ketcham Supply.
All weak rope (1,700-pound breaking strength) inserts must be at least 3 feet in length, must be connected with a tuck (at least 3 recommended), splice, or a sleeve, and must be a contrasting color.
All in-line manufactured weak links must be stamped with the breaking strength, must be a contrasting color, and must be connected to the regular-strength rope with a tuck (at least 3 recommended) or splice.
Please check this page for updates, as we will be adding weak inserts as they are approved.
In-line Link, also called Endline or Buoy Line Breakaway
- In-line links sold by Brooks Trap Mill are approved to be used with any 3/8" rope and any splice, though a 3-tuck splice is recommended. April 19 Update: New "Maine Mold" links are available for ordering now.
- In-line inshore links manufactured by Seaside Rope in Warren, Maine have been approved for use and may be ordered now. Available at Ketcham Supply. Seaside Rope inline links for 5/8" line have been approved for use, installed with spices or tucks. Average breaking strength of 1738 lbs. Available at Ketcham Supply.
- Plante's Buoy Sticks is also making links, including offshore links for 1/2" and 5/8" ropes, that are approved for use and may be ordered now.
Note: Only one link may be used at each insertion.
Breakaway Release Link
Manufactured by Coastline Cordage Group, this braided 7/16 inch breakaway link breaks at an average of 1,612 lbs and is 69 inches long. The link breaks at the stitching, therefore any attachment method must not reinforce the stitching (see example of double Becket below, which is not allowed). Approved May 18, 2022. Recommend installation with at least 3 splices or tucks. Available at Ketcham Supply in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Note: DO NOT attach with a double or single Becket
Novabraid South Shore Sleeve
Watch another way to install a South Shore Sleeve (added May 2022)
Available at NEMI in New Hampshire and Ketcham Supply.