And how about the problems they have with whales?
The effects of lobster buoys on these gentle giants
The American Lobster, Americanus homarus, can be found from Cape Hatteras, NC to Newfoundland but is most abundant in the Gulf of Maine, from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia. It is in this area where it is most heavily targeted by commercial fisheries. And no wonder, according to a recent New York Times article, the retail price has doubled since last spring, now about $15 for a one lb lobster.
For the millions of tourists that visit New England each year, the sweet taste of a New England lobster is worth the price. However, few of those shelling out their hard earned dollars to crack into the shell of this delicacy realize the conflict between lobsters and whales.
The colorful buoys that dot the surface of the waters up and down the coast of the Gulf of Maine, marking the locations of the traps beneath are the snapshots we see on a postcard; the muse for local artists; or an iconic symbol of New England. Yet it is what we don’t see beneath the surface that is the source of conflict between managers, conservationists and fishermen, and, sometimes, the source of death to endangered whales.
Fishermen are not trying to catch whales, it happens incidentally. The lines that connect the traps below the surface can float as much as 25-30 feet above the sea bed. The line to which the colorful buoy is attached can run hundreds of feet down to the bottom.
It is these lines in which whales will sometimes get ensnared. No one knows why whales don’t seem able to detect the lines- maybe there are just too many in one area, or maybe whales are just too busy feeding and become oblivious. But what is known is that when whales and line interact, it can be lethal to the whale. As the whale becomes entangled it appears to roll further into the gear, causing a tight wrap. While some whales do shed the gear on their own, others carry it with them for years. The line can become imbedded in the skin or worse, cut through bone. This can result in a painful and slow death as they may be unable to feed or swim properly, or their wounds become hopelessly infected... Read the rest of this Whales.org release here.