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HARBOR PORPOISE TAKE REDUCTION PLAN

The Take Reduction Team

The Harbor Porpoise Take Reduction Team (HPTRT) is one of several take reduction teams established by NOAA Fisheries Service in 1996 to help develop plans to mitigate the risk to marine mammals posed by fishing gear. Take Reduction Teams were established as advisory teams under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The Harbor Porpoise Take Reduction Team is composed of two sub-groups; a Gulf of Maine team and a Mid-Atlantic team. Each team meets separately to discuss management of the Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy harbor porpoise stock, which is common to both regions. The team is composed of fishermen, scientists, conservationists, and state and federal officials from Maine to North Carolina.

The harbor porpoise team helped NOAA Fisheries Service develop a Take Reduction Plan (TRP) that was published in December, 1998 as a final rule. The plan described in the final rule was intended to be an evolving plan that would change as scientists learned more about Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy harbor porpoise abundance and about bycatch rates. NOAA Fisheries Service has retained the team and currently monitors progress and identifies the need for improvements.

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