Colored lobster rope could be safer for whales (East Coast, USA)

The ocean update

In this March 27, 2009 file photo, a lobsterman throws additional fishing rope onto a pile in Rockland, Maine. Pat Wellenbach, File/Associated Press In this March 27, 2009 file photo, a lobsterman throws additional fishing rope onto a pile in Rockland, Maine. Pat Wellenbach, File/Associated Press

March 1st, 2014. ROCKPORT, Maine — Preventing endangered northern right whales from becoming entangled in lobster gear could be as simple as changing the color of rope, a whale researcher says.

If the whales can see the fishing gear more clearly, then they are better able to avoid it, said Scott Kraus, a leading researcher on northern right whales.

“We know they can see the ropes. We thought by making them more visible they might be like traffic cones” by steering whales away from danger, Kraus said at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum, an annual fishing industry event that draws together fishermen, regulators, researchers and other industry officials.

North Atlantic right whales, whose large eyes are adapted to the low light of the ocean, may be more…

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