Reduced lobster fishing helps northern right whales and fishermen
Limiting the lobster fishery to six months and using a tenth of the fishing baskets used so far could not only protect the endangered northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), but also the fisherman's wallet if the catch was the same. Ransom Myers of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and his colleagues came to this conclusion by comparing the Canadian and US lobster fisheries.
Northern right whales often get tangled in the lines of fishing nets and lobster pots, injuring themselves or even drowning. Photographs show corresponding tracks for three quarters of the animals. Fatal entanglement is one of the greatest threats to the endangered species, with an estimated 350 individuals left off the east coast of North America.
In Canada they only fish for lobster during the winter season, while fishermen in Maine put out their pots all year round. In addition, the Americans use eight to nine times as many trapping baskets as their Canadian counterparts. Despite this, their yields are only thirty percent higher. The scientists calculated that with the same catch result in the US lobster fishing regions, 13 times the number of lobster pots are used as in Canada. With regard to the endangerment of northern right whales, one lobster caught in Canada has the same negative effect as a hundred caught in the USA. (af)