PETERSBURG-AK The University of Alaska is working with commercial fishermen to study how best to keep whales away from fishing gear.
Researchers with the Seagrant Marine Advisory Program are spending several days on the water in the Petersburg-Wrangell area this spring and summer. They’re studying whale behavior around gillnetters and the methods some fishermen use to avoid or deter the animals. Often, that can simply involve making some sort of noise like reving the engine or banging on the side of the boat.
The local study is already underway with a few gillnetters who are part of the states king salmon test fishery in district eight. Seagrant has a companion effort in the works with seiners in the kodiak area. The idea is to figure out what methods work best and provide that information to all fishermen around the state.
The program’s Sunny Rice of Petersburg and Kate Wynne of Kodiak call it MAD whales, which an acronym for monitoring, avoiding and deterring whales. They spoke with KFSK’s Matt Lichtenstein:
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