With barely 400 North Atlantic right whales left on earth, we must do everything we can to save the species from extinction. Federal regulators at NOAA want to hear from you as they consider proposals to reduce the risk of whales getting entangled in deadly fishing gear. Let them know that the best short-term solution would be to establish a new protected area south of Nantucket, where right whales feed and socialize for several months of the year. Around 100 whales, one-quarter of the current population were spotted there on a single day last year. We can protect right whales in this important area by removing fishing gear when whales are there.

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Comments on Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan Scoping

Dear Administrator Michael Pentony:



To reduce the risk of entanglements, NOAA should:

1. Protect waters: The best way to prevent entanglements is to avoid interactions between whales and certain kinds of fishing gear. As a preferred alternative in this rulemaking, propose and analyze a new protected area south of Nantucket to be closed to trap/pot fishing during those months of the year when right whales are most likely to be present.
2. Update data: Update the Decision Support Tool used by the Take Reduction Team with the most recent sightings data immediately and ensure that it is peer reviewed prior to final action on this rulemaking.
3. Increase monitoring: Significantly increase aerial and vessel survey effort as well as passive acoustic monitoring in the Northeast to ensure that fishermen and the public are confident that appropriate areas are protected at the right times.
4. Mandate gear markings: Require new gear markings every 40 feet so that gear causing entanglements can be linked to a specific fishery, area fished, and country.
5. Increase location reporting: Require all federal permit holders to report their fishing location by 10-minute squares starting January 1, 2020.
6. Support ropeless gear: Put the lobster fishery at the forefront of conservation and sustainability by subsidizing and permitting the testing of ropeless gear as soon as possible.

With these changes, we can bring right whales back from the brink of extinction.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]
[Your Email]