PORTSMOUTH — Officials from New Hampshire Fish and Game will be holding a meeting on Thursday with members of the lobster fishing industry to talk about protecting the North Atlantic right whale.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the North Atlantic right whale is one of the world’s most endangered large whale species, with only about 400 whales remaining.
North Atlantic right whales have been listed as endangered since 1970. Researchers believe there are fewer than 95 breeding females left.
This breed of whale was driven to the brink of extinction by the early 1890s due to the activities of commercial whalers, according to NOAA’s website.
Today, entanglement in fishing gear and vessel strikes are the leading threats to the North Atlantic right whales, which live off the East Coast. Studies have shown that 85% of these whales have been entangled in fishing gear at least once.
During the upcoming meeting, a draft proposal from New Hampshire to NOAA Fisheries on how to meet the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team’s consensus decision to reduce risk from the fishing industry’s vertical lines in both state and federal waters will be presented.
In April, the NOAA Fisheries team committed to reducing risk to the North Atlantic right whale population by 60%.
The Maine Lobstermen’s Association announced this fall it was withdrawing its support for the consensus agreement, noting that the risk reduction target of 60% was higher than necessary.
The meeting between members of New Hampshire’s lobster fishing industry and Fish and Game Department will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday at the Urban Forestry Center on Elwyn Road in Portsmouth.