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.
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.