Snow crab fishermen in Nova Scotia, Canada, have taken it on themselves to save right whales by preventing more deaths due to fishing gear and to that tend they are mulling changes in their fishing gear.
Right whales are once again in headlines this year because at least 16 right whales have been found dead in waters off the east coast of Canada and the United States. Necropsy has already been carried out on seven whales and it has been found that four of these whales exhibited signs of blunt force trauma compatible with ship strikes and two likely died from entanglements in fishing gear.
The fishermen of the snow crab industry in Canada say they are already making some immediate changes to prevent more deaths of North Atlantic right whales. They are also looking for ways to reduce the amount of slack rope attached to traps during the April-to-August snow crab season. The fishermen say their measures are quick and easy ones and they don’t need to wait for government regulations as their steps will start offering positive results soon.
Several proposals have been suggested to help reduce the likelihood of whales getting caught in gear including the use of either ropeless gear or breakaway ropes; however, fishermen are concerned that ropeless electronic systems could malfunction, leaving traps stranded on the bottom. Other proposals have been made as well and while they are still being looked into, right whales are dying because of fishing gear and that’s something that the fishermen want to avoid at all costs.