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Right Whale Research Program (2003) – 12 Funded Projects

Project Title

Funding Received

Project Summary

Final Report

Zap Buoy

$20,000

Develop a remotely releasable submersed buoy to eliminate the vertical lines that are used to locate lobster and crab traps.

Zap Buoy

Reduction of Floating Groundline Arc Profile Study

$60,000

Investigate groundline profiles in fishing gear along the coast of Maine, particularly floating groundlines in rocky and strong tidal areas, in order to develop reasonable, long term gear modifications.

Final Report: Floating Groundline Arc Profile Study

Fishing Gear and Whale Flukes: A Tool for Studying Line Types and Abrasive Impacts

$13,325

Design, fabricate, and use of a load generator as a testing apparatus for objectively evaluating the abrasive impact of various fishing gear lines and synthetic materials on the tissues [collected from a dead stranded animal] of a large whale fluke.

Fishing Gear & Whale Flukes: A Tool for Studying Line Types and Abrasive Impacts

Secondary Phase of the Construction, Testing and Evaluation of a Low Cost Bottom Release Device

$40,000

Design, construct, and evaluate a rope cutting device used to sever the buoy line after tension is applied for a pre-determined amount of time.  In addition, produce  80 machined plastic units for extensive at sea testing.

Further Development of the Time Tension Line Cutter as a Solution to Vertical Lines used in Fixed Gear Fisheries

Cost and Acceptance Evaluation for an Acoustic Release System for Buoy Lines used in Pot and Net Fisheries

$5,000

Evaluate the cost feasibility and the potential industry acceptance of a low-cost acoustic release system for buoy lines used in pot and net fisheries.

Cost and Acceptance Evaluation for an Acoustic Release System for Buoy Lines Used in Pot and Net Fisheries

Testing and Product Development of a Marine Safety Recovery Device

$10,500

Develop a device that enables the retrieval of submerged lost gear. Through intensive field testing and end-user focus group research and analysis, develop recommendations for a low cost unit that withstands the rigors of the marine environment.

Marine Safety Recovery Device (MSRD)

Weak Rope and Its Role in Reducing Right Whale Entanglement

$20,000

Develop a weak rope for use in gillnet floatlines (lines from which net panels are hung). In addition to lab testing, test the prototype rope in the field by distributing this rope to commercial fishermen.

Making and Testing Weak Rope (submitted in January 2005)

Zap Link

$20,000

Develop and test a device that serves as a releasable link on groundlines of lobster trawls. The link will part if a whale catches the groundline in its mouth, but will still allow normal operation of trawls.

Zap Link

Glow-in-the-Dark Rope of Controllable Stiffness

$16,000

Develop and test a "glowing" rope that may help whales to avoid it because they can see it.  In addition, design a stiff rope that cannot wrap around any part of a whale that handles well on a fishing vessel.

Glow-in-the-Dark Rope of Controllable Stiffness

Investigation of Alternative Groundlines

$10,000

Replace floating groundlines on lobster and black sea bass traps with sinking and neutrally buoyant lines to reduce whale entanglement risk in the Mid-Atlantic.

Final Report Not Yet Received.

Lobster Gear Profile Separation Testing

$16,000

Using a vessel, simulate an interaction between a whale and lobster groundline to examine where and if the groundline is parting, at what tension, and what portion of the line and gear remains and what portion separates.  Conduct twenty-four trials using groundline of various diameters and traps of differing sizes and strengths.

Lobster Gear Profile Separation Testing

Investigations into the Adaptation of Microchip Technology to the Identification of Fishing Lines

$19,000

Adapt microchip technology that is used for animal identification to fishing gear. Microchips that are embedded into fishing lines at predetermined intervals could provide them with permanent identification.

Investigations into the Adaptation of Microchip Technology to the Identification of Fishing Lines