Weaker ropes could save whales from entanglement
A new study in the US has concluded that switching fishing gear to use ropes that break at 1700 pounds or less, could reduce potentially life-threatening entanglements for whales by over 70%. At the same time the ropes would still be effective for many types of fishing activities.
The study examined live and dead whales entangled in fishing gear along the U.S. East Coast and the Canadian Maritimes from 1994 to 2010, comparing the whale species, type and strength of rope involved, as well as the nature of the injuries to the whale.
Entanglement in fishing gear is a major threat to large whales throughout the world’s oceans and is almost a weekly occurrence on the east coast of the US, home to species such as the endangered North Atlantic right whale, of which just a few hundred remain.