Code of Conduct for Fisherman
Entanglement in fixed fishing gear is a major problem for baleen whales, as shown by scarring studies that found that 75% of right whales and 88% of humpbacks whales carry scars from entanglement. Fixed fishing gear is described as any gear that is temporarily anchored in place and usually has floats or buoys at the surface to mark the location of the gear. In 2007, the Grand Manan Whale & Seabird Research Station working with area fishers developed material to help them understand why endangered right whales are so vulnerable to entanglement in fixed fishing gear and to suggest how they can become involved in the process to lessen the entanglement problem.
Approximately 75% of all known right whales are seen with scars due to entanglement in fishing gear as shown by the white line scars shown on the tail stock of this right whale.
This material prepared for the fishers includes a voluntary code of conduct that can be posted on their vessel as a reminder of what they can do in situations where right whales may be present in the fishing areas or seen while they are en route to these areas, plus a whale identification card, and more detailed information about right whales and their vulnerability to entanglement. These materials are printed on waterproof paper and available upon request or copies can also be accessed online.
* The Grand Manan Whale & Seabird Research Station would like to acknowledge the following organizations for their support during the development of the Code of Conduct for Fisherman: Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk, Grand Manan Fishermen's Association, Maritime Fishermen's Union (Hubert Saulnier), Fundy North Fishermen's Association, Canadian Whale Institute (Dr. Moira W. Brown), Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Marine Animal Response Society (Tonya Wimmer) and Andrea Kelter.