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Snow Crab Fishermen Receive Funds For Right Whale Protections

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The snow crab industry in northern New Brunswick is getting more than $2 million over three years to implement a series of initiatives designed to reduce the risk of endangered North Atlantic right whales becoming entangled in fishing gear. The Acadian Crabbers’ Association will research and test technologies such as breakaway gear and ropeless buoys, the federal and New Brunswick governments announced on Tuesday in Shippagan. Hydrophones will also be used to help track the whales. Fishermen began testing ropeless traps last year using two different methods — one based on acoustic release and another that uses an inflatable buoy. Both use sonar to track and communicate with the traps. Traditional crab traps or pots are loaded with bait and lowered to the ocean floor with a rope and buoy attached to mark their location on the surface. Right whales tend to spend a lot of time at the surface — coming up to breathe, feed and socialize, so this slack line creates a risk of entanglement, officials have said.

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