Study: Ropes That Break More Easily Could Save Some Whales
BOSTON - A study published in a scientific journal says life-threatening whale entanglements could be reduced by using ropes that break more easily under the force of the enormous animals.
Whales become entangled in commercial fishing gear almost every week along the East Coast of the United States and Canada. A coastal study in conservation biology examined ropes retrieved from live and dead whales entangled in fishing gear from 1994 to 2010.
The authors concluded that switching to ropes that break at less than 1,700 pounds could reduce life-threatening entanglements for large whales by as much as 72 percent. The ropes would still work for much of the fishing industry.
The Consortium for Wildlife Bycatch Reduction initiated the study and the New England Aquarium and the Center for Coastal Studies conducted it.