ropeless: Ropeless Consortium

Email listserv for the Ropeless Consortium. The formation of the Ropeless Consortium was motivated by a recent assessment of the North Atlantic right whale species (NARW), which indicated that it is in its 7th consecutive year of decline with only about 450 whales left in 2016 (Pace et al. 2017, Pettis et al. 2017). Only about 100 breeding females are left in the population. Given the current mortality rate, the species has about 20 years left

before these 100 females are gone, at which point the species will be functionally extinct (i.e., unable to recover). Fishing gear entanglements cause the majority of right whale deaths today, and also contribute to declining calving rates through the prolonged health effects of non-lethal entanglements. Pressure to mitigate entanglements will grow quickly as the right whale population continues to decline; this pressure will come from the public as they inevitably learn

about the extent of the problem and the drawn-out suffering of entangled whales. With no other options at hand, governments will ultimately close fisheries to mitigate entanglements (as has already happened in Massachusetts and Canada). We believe such closures will devastate fixed fisheries and the communities that rely on them. This is everyone’s problem – the fishing industry, wholesalers, retailers, consumers, government regulators, scientists, and

conservationists. We must work together to find science-based solutions that will allow the

fishing industry to coexist profitably with right whales. The development and operational use of ropeless fishing (marking and retrieving traps without buoys or end lines) has the promise to eliminate the majority of trap/pot gear entanglements, the cause of most right whale entanglement deaths.

This listserv will serve as a means for RC participants (industry, scientists, engineers, fishermen, regulators, etc) to communicate about new technologies being developed, testing protocols and results, industry outreach, etc.

Visit for more information.