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North Atlantic Right Whale Death

The Maine fishing industry is deeply saddened by the death of juvenile NARW #5120 which came to rest on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. We are struggling to wrap our heads around this event. This juvenile NARW was first documented with an entanglement of serious injury by DFO off the coast of New Brunswick, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in August of 2022. A serious injury declaration was made in 2022. This is extremely unfortunate. Maine strives to have no entanglements with NARW and has not since 2004. This is the first mortality of a NARW with Maine gear that we are aware of since the inception of the Large Whale Take Reduction Plan. No buoy was collected with the rope which could help identify the fishermen and the general area of the entanglement. The rope recovered, about 70 feet, did not have green markings, however, DMR has not concluded if this gear is consistent with state or federal waters gear. No question that this is a very unfortunate incident, but Maine will continue to diligently work on collecting data to better inform the risk to NARW in Maine waters. An entanglement is something no fisherman wants to see. While this news will bring a new round of fear and anxiety about what is coming next; although this is terrible news, it does not change the fact that Congress has stated in law that our fishery is in compliance with both the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act until December 31, 2028.

DMR's investigation into the entanglement is ongoing. A final report from NOAA will take some time to prepare. DMR will share any information they receive with the industry.

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