AND EARLY WARNING SYSTEM
Voluntary Sightings Network will be comprised of members of the Maine
commercial lobster and gillnet industries, Maine Marine Patrol (MMP),
whale watch vessels, and other mariners (ship pilots, ferry captains,
large whale sightings will be reported to and filtered through the Maine
Take Reduction Coordinator using the dedicated 1-800-532-9551
verified, they will be fed into the Sightings and Early Warning System
(SEWS) web-based GIS application by a GIS intern based at the Department
of Marine Resources (DMR) in West Boothbay Harbor.
I Responders (including trained lobstermen, Marine Patrol officers, and
whale watches) will be available coast-wide to verify sightings or
provide stand-by assistance in the event of an entangled animal (see
DISENTANGLEMENT section, back page).
to verified sightings will be determined by the nature of the event.
Calls will be routed by the Take Reduction Coordinator to
appropriate parties (NOAA, NMFS, CCS, NEAq, USCG, MMP).
protocol will be further developed and refined through discussions with
MMP, industry, and NOAA/NMFS. A
sightings reporting form will be designed to document each sighting,
using existing reporting forms as a model.
web-based, interactive program will allow the State to monitor and make
available real-time (between 4-24 hours old) sightings data of large
whale distribution in Maine state waters.
It will incorporate historical sightings data of all large whales
as well as daily data generated by the SEWS Network.
intended end-user of the program is the fishing industry.
The program will feature whale sightings in Maine waters as
defined by Lobster Zones, and will allow the user to look at specific
dates or areas. The goal of the program is to allow fishermen to know when
whales are in areas that they are fishing, so that they might take
precautionary measures (i.e. keep a sharper look-out for whale-gear
interaction, choose not to move gear into the area until the whales have
moved out, or choose to move gear out of the way).
program will also be used to generate faxed, phoned and emailed reports
to industry members, buying stations, or other Network members who do
not have access to the Web.
federal Dynamic Area Management (DAM) restrictions will be red-flagged
to guide the user to the NOAA/NMFS website for that information.
State of Maine whale disentanglement program will provide 24-hour, 7-day
a week response to reports of entanglements through the
(800-532-9551). Response to
the entanglement will be from MMP, trained industry members, USCG, and
CCS, depending on nature of event.
DMR will establish joint MMP and industry standby assistance for support
that may be needed for disentanglement efforts.
The MMP will be connected to a State and Gulf of Maine-wide
network of people trained in how to disentangle whales.
whale disentanglement efforts will be led by MMP and industry Network
disentanglement tools have been installed on all MMP vessels.
whale and other large whale disentanglement efforts will be conducted by
federal contractors with the assistance of MMP officers and trained
industry members, who will assist at these large whale disentanglement
efforts whenever possible.
identification and behavioral training workshops for Network members have been conducted by experienced leaders so
that sightings can be made and reported with confidence.
Boat-side and classroom identification workshops and “whale
watches” will be held as the program develops.
hands-on disentanglement training will be conducted along the coast
using a 17’ model whale and disentanglement tools.
The whale, built by a tuna fisherman/urchin diver, allows for the
demonstration of how a whale might run afoul of fishing gear, and how
the disentanglement tools are specially suited for the job.
whale disentanglement training will be offered to Network members when
the opportunity exists.
The State has hosted
workshops to broaden communication between fishermen and technology
experts which will aid in the development and implementation of gillnet
and lobster fishing gear with a reduced risk of entanglement.
State will develop and present information and education programs and
materials throughout Maine, especially targeting fishing communities.
JOIN THE NETWORK OR FOR MORE INFO CALL THE DMR,
to Whale page