A Massachusetts state lawmaker wants to do more to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales from boat collisions and fishing gear entanglements by increasing marine patrols.
Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr added an amendment to the $47 billion state budget to earmark another $250,000 for the Massachusetts Environmental Police to conduct more whale patrols in state waters, The Salem News reported Tuesday.
The additional funding would provide for an “intensive surveillance process” to monitor whales, prevent interactions with vessels and remove abandoned “ghost fishing gear” that causes entanglements, the Gloucester Republican said.
The patrols would also help protect the state’s lobster industry.
Photos You Should See – May 2021
Earlier this year, the state’s lobster fishery was closed for more than a month following whale sightings.
“If you cannot have traps, you cannot have a fishery, and if those traps are believed to entangle whales, then you cannot have them,” he said.
There are fewer than 400 North Atlantic right whales left, according to marine biologists.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.