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Right Whales, Right Gear: Fishing To Avoid Entanglements

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With support from: Lowell Institute
Date and time
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
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Learn about the right whale, a large baleen whale found in the waters of New England. Though whale hunting is outlawed throughout most of the world, right whales are still threatened by fishing gear. They can easily become entangled in ropes and suffer serious injuries. Lobstermen Kristan Porter and John Haviland will explain the struggles fishermen face when it comes to earning a living while trying to follow regulations meant to protect marine creatures. Scientist Amy Knowlton shares her experiences tracking and studying entangled right whales. Lastly, Bycatch Program director Laurens Howle will demonstrate his team's simulation software that models how right whales interact with fishing ropes.

Tim Werner is a Senior Research Scientist at the New England Aquarium, and Director of the Consortium for Wildlife Bycatch Reduction, a group of engineers, fishermen, and biologists engaged collaboratively in the research and development of alternative fishing techniques that reduce the bycatch of threatened marine species. Before joining the Aquarium in 2005, Tim served as a senior director at the environmental non-profit organization Conservation International, where he oversaw programs that supported the creation of marine and terrestrial protected areas in Latin America and the South Pacific, and developed eco-businesses with rural communities. With a long-standing interest in tropical marine environments, he has organized and led field expeditions involving wildlife biologists and fisheries scientists to document coral reef biodiversity in Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Brazil. In addition to his focus on bycatch reduction, Tim is part of an international team of scientists funded by the National Science Foundation to study the biology and management of sea cucumbers. Tim holds graduate degrees in Marine Zoology from University of Maryland, and in Business Management from Stanford University where he was a 2001 Sloan Fellow.
**Amy Knowlton** is a Senior Scientist who has worked on the Right Whale Research Program since 1983. She has been involved in all aspects of the program, including fieldwork, curation of the photo-identification catalog, assessment of human impacts, and policy efforts to protect right whales. Amy’s main focus has been the detailed documentation of human impacts on right whales, including fishing-gear entanglement and vessel strikes. By evaluating these data in-depth and linking these findings with the operational aspects of the fishing and shipping industries, she has been able to share these findings with industry groups and guide policy changes in order to improve the protection of right whales from these activities. Photo: [Anderson Cabot Center](http://www.andersoncabotcenterforoceanlife.org/about-us/team-members/amy-knowlton/ "Amy Knowlton | ACCFOL")
**Kristan Porter** is a lobsterman who serves as the president of the Maine Lobstermen's Association. He is a longtime member of the MLA, having previously served as Vice President and board member. He was a founding member of the Downeast Draggermen’s Association, served on Maine’s Sea Urchin Zone Council, and is a scallop adviser to the New England Fishery Management Council. Porter also is president of the Maine Fishermen’s Forum board of directors. He is an advocate for whale entanglement caused by fishing gear and works with scientist to test new gear with the aims of reducing entanglements. Photo: [Twitter](https://twitter.com/fvwhitneyashley "Kristan Porter | Twitter")
John Haviland is the president of the South Shore Lobster Fishermen’s Association. He is also a member of the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team. He has been outspoken about Massachusett's seasonal lobster trapping ban and its impact on local lobstermen.
Laurens Howle is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University. He is also a Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative. Professor Howle's research interests span the disciplines of thermal science, fluid dynamics, and nonlinear dynamics. His present research projects - visualization of convective fluid patterns, stabilization of the no-motion state in free convection and bifurcation in imperfect or distributed parameter systems - are split evenly between experimental and computational methods. Photo: [Duke.edu](https://energy.duke.edu/faculty-member/howle-laurens-e "Laurens Howle | Duke")

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