Development and Evaluation of Reduced Breaking Strength Rope to Reduce Large Whale Entanglement Severity

Knowlton, A.R., Malloy, R., Kraus, S.D., and Werner, T.B.
Contact information
Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium
1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110

1,700 lbf prototypes were developed and tested both in a lab and at sea to determine their fishing practicality. Use of these ropes have been documented as a strategy for reducing the incidence and severity of large whale entanglements in lobster pot buoy lines. Additionally, modeling work was carried out to assess the tensions placed on ropes when hauling gear in normal fishing operations and to evaluate what forces a whale might put on gear during an entanglement. Both lab and field testing showed the feasibility of using these ropes within near and mid-shore lobster gear off Massachusetts.