May 21, 2019 12:49 pm
Updated: May 21, 2019 12:50 pm

Ottawa and New Brunswick to provide $2M in funding to combat whale entanglements

In this photo taken Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, lines are seen inside one of crab fisherman Jim Anderson's crab pots in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

AP Photo/Eric Risberg

Snow crab fishermen in northern New Brunswick are getting more than $2 million over three years to help test technologies aimed at reducing the risks of North Atlantic right whale entanglements in fishing gear.

The funding for the Acadian Crabbers Association comes through the $400-million Atlantic Fisheries Fund, which is jointly funded by Ottawa and the region’s provincial governments.

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READ MORE: Reduce number of lobstering gear to save right whales, says U.S. advisory team

The fishermen began testing ropeless trap systems last year.

The standard traps currently used by fishermen use a rope that’s suspended in the water column with a buoy at the top – gear that poses a potentially deadly hazard for whales that end up entangled.

Although no right whales died in Canadian waters in 2018, 12 were found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2017.

WATCH: (Jan 23, 2018) Ottawa announces four new measures with the goal of protecting right whales

Necropsies on seven of those whales found that four died from trauma consistent with vessel collisions, while two deaths were the result of entanglement in fishing gear.

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