Fishermen Say They Are Avoiding Porpoises During Fishing Ground Reprieve

GLOUCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Fishermen say they’re being diligent about avoiding harbor porpoises after they were given a reprieve from a scheduled shutdown of key fishing grounds.

The shutdown was scheduled for October and November in the Gulf of Maine after too many porpoises got caught in their stationary nets, called gillnets. Regulators said too few fishermen were installing required “pingers,” which make a sound that drive porpoises away.

But regulators rescheduled the closure after fishermen said the timing of the shutdown would be devastating. Critics of the reprieve said regulators were endangering porpoises by caving to a small industry segment.

The Northeast Seafood Coalition, an industry group, says it urged its members to deploy twice the required pingers in October. And they’re working on new pingers that are easier to confirm are working.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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