The Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan (ALWTRP) includes a combination of fishing gear modifications and time/area closures to reduce whale entanglement in commercial fishing gear (potentially suffering serious injury or mortality as a result). The nature of the gear modification requirements varies by location and time of year, maximizing reduction in entanglement risk based on whale movements. NMFS complements these gear modification requirements with prohibitions on fishing at times and in places where whale aggregations are greatest, and therefore entanglement risk may be particularly high. NMFS is considering various alternatives for modifying existing ALWTRP requirements, with the intent of identifying only one alternative in the FEIS. The alternatives under consideration seek to reduce large whale entanglement by folding in other trap/pot fisheries under the ALWTRP; reducing the profile of groundlines; and mandating gear modifications to vertical lines, for example, by requiring gear marking and the use of weak links of lower breaking strength. These changes are designed to address ongoing right, humpback, and fin whale entanglements resulting in serious injury or mortality. These measures are designed to address entanglement risk posed by fisheries in U.S. waters; however, NMFS recognizes tha
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