NOAA Enforcement Deploys Remotely Operated Vehicles to Patrol the Seas


NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement deploys ROVs to inspect offshore lobster gear.

NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement is increasing efforts to help ensure compliance with gear regulations in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic American Lobster Trap/Pot Fishery. OLE is deploying remotely operated vehicles that will make inspecting offshore lobster gear more efficient.

This fishery operates primarily with traps that are set out by fishermen in fixed locations. The lines connecting traps to each other (groundlines) or to the surface buoy (vertical lines) can entangle marine mammals. Large whales, including endangered North Atlantic right whales, are particularly susceptible to entanglement because their habitat and feeding areas overlap with fisheries. The gear can cut into a whale’s body, cause serious injuries, and result in infections and death.

Entanglement in fishing gear is one of two primary threats to the North Atlantic right whale species’ survival (the other is vessel strikes). NOAA Fisheries implemented the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan, which reduces injuries and deaths of large whales due to incidental entanglement in fishing gear.

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Image via NOAA Fisheries