Not only does the Whale Entanglement Team (WET)® save entangled whales, we’ve developed a new pilot project to remove derelict fishing gear in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). This will prevent future entanglements of whales, turtles, sharks, fish, and other marine wildlife.
Our project is comprised of scanning the seafloor to detect derelict or lost fishing gear and then retrieving it to remove it from the marine environment. See the images below from the EdgeTech 4125 side sonar scanner. This prevention practice reduces potential entanglements of whales, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and other marine wildlife, many of which are on the Endangered Species List. Ten percent of crab and spot prawn traps that are lost do not have buoys or markers at the surface due to storms, being cut by other fisheries that troll, or getting cut by vessel propellers. Because the Monterey Bay has a long history of being a commercial and recreational fishing ground, this has created a growing forest of polyurethane lines.
We were awarded a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) for $60,000. The whole project is $90,000 NFWF requires us to match $30,000 toward the project. We have raised some of the matching but still need to raise $12,000. Please help us reach our goal!
We have letters of support from Congressman Jimmy Panetta, Karen Grimmer, Resource Protection Coordinator for the MBNMS, and Justin Greenman, Assistant Stranding Coordinator for NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and oversees whale entanglement responses in California.
Project Abstract: The program will reduce entanglement opportunities for marine life, fishing gear, and vessels. It will focus on combining modern technology and old school fishing techniques producing a reliable and effective process for crab pot and line detection on the sea floor. The use of these detection techniques has been tested and proven 100% effective. The side scan sonar and the GPS are both accurate to 10 cm, therefore providing extremely accurate coordinates for the lost crab pot and/or crab pot line. The Hybrid Stainless Steel grappling hook designed with fins produce a rotation that is able to retrieve the line at the correct identified depth. Participation of stakeholders, local governments, California Fish and Wildlife, and MBNMS is critical to the project, as retrieval crews will be able to work as a team during off season commercial and recreational crabbing.