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Pelagic Longline Take Reduction Plan

long-finned pilot whale
Long-finned Pilot Whale
(Globicephala melas)
Photo: Howard Goldstein, courtesy of Scripps Institution of Oceanography/ UCSD and R/V Roger Revelle

short-finned pilot whale
Short-finned Pilot Whale
(Globicephala macrorhynchus)
Photo: NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Risso's Dolphin
Risso's Dolphin
(Grampus griseus)
Photo: Scott Hill, NOAA Corps


NMFS established a take reduction team (Team) to address the incidental mortality and serious injury of long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) and short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) in the mid-Atlantic region of the Atlantic pelagic longline fishery.

The Team, under section 118 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), is charged with developing a take reduction plan (Plan) to reduce bycatch of pilot whales in the Atlantic pelagic longline fishery to a level approaching a zero mortality and serious injury rate within 5 years of implementation of the plan. For more information, please see the Federal Register notice announcing the Team [pdf].

The Plan
NMFS published a final rule to implement the Pelagic Longline Take Reduction Plan on May 19, 2009. The Plan includes a special research area, gear modifications, outreach material, observer coverage, and captains' communications.

NMFS published the proposed rule to implement the Plan on June 24, 2008:

Team Meetings

NMFS settled a lawsuit with several environmental organizations in 2003, which resulted in an agreement to convene the Team [pdf] in June 2005.

In 1996, NMFS convened the Atlantic Offshore Cetacean Take Reduction Team to address bycatch of several marine mammal stocks, including pilot whales, in the Atlantic pelagic longline, pelagic driftnet, and pair trawl fisheries. The AOCTRT submitted a final draft plan [pdf] [6.5 MB] to NMFS in November 1996. However, the fisheries included in that draft plan changed dramatically soon after and NMFS disbanded the Team before taking final action.

Additional Documents

More Information

Updated December 20, 2016