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Times are a changing! Rope on Demand fishing gear has been created as a direct response to the threat of whale entanglement posed by traditional fishing gear. Although innovation can develop quickly, policy is often slow to change hindering progress in any space. This is good news as Fisheries and Oceans Canada has proposed regulatory changes that would remove the requirement of a marker at the surface to the location of traps. Instead, the proposed changes would allow for rope on command fishing gear deployment as a license condition or variation order.
A remarkable joint effort off the coast of Witless Bay successfully freed a mother humpback whale (and her calf) trapped in over 500 feet of crab fishing gear. Joe O'Brien of O'Brien's Boat Tours spotted the entangled mother and calf and promptly contacted Julie Huntington of Whale Release and Strandings. After temporarily losing track of the whales, they were eventually located near Green Island. The challenging task of disentangling a moving whale was carried out with caution, ultimately freeing the whale after about 90 minutes. The rescue showcased exceptional cooperation, with O'Brien's vital assistance gratefully recognized by Huntington.
Elizabeth Wile and Alanna Canaran, of Project SculptShore, organized a successful cleanup event at Africville in the Bedford Basin on July 14th. Teaming up with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Halifax, they educated youth about the North Atlantic right whale and encouraged their involvement in cleaning up shorelines and protecting the ocean environment. The initiative aims to raise awareness for the whale's conservation by addressing threats like entanglement, boat strikes, and plastic pollution. Wile and Canaran, with their life-sized whale calf sculpture, are continuing their summer drive along the East Coast, promoting positive messaging and engaging communities in the cause.