The Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team (ALWTRT) is one of several take reduction teams established by NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to help develop plans to mitigate the risk to marine mammals posed by fishing gear. TRTs were established as advisory teams under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team was established in 1996 and is composed of fishermen, scientists, conservationists, and state and federal officials.
The large whale TRT helped NMFS develop a Take Reduction Plan (TRP) that was published in July, 1997, as an interim final rule. A final rule was published in February, 1999. The plan described in the final rule was intended to be an evolving plan that would change as whale researchers learn more about the status of whale stocks and gain a clearer understanding of how and where entanglements occur. The ALWTRP has been modified on several occasions and addresses the serious injury and mortality of large whales in gillnet and trap/pot gear. The Atlantic Large Whale TRT helps the agency monitor progress of the ALWTRP and advises on needed improvements.