Federal officials will meet with fishermen and other members of the public in a series of meetings about possible changes to rules designed to protect vulnerable whales.

A federal team has called for gear modifications and a reduction of the vertical trap lines in the Gulf of Maine to reduce the risk of entanglement, injury and of death of North Atlantic right whales, which number about 400, by 60 percent.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it’s looking for comments on the new management options, which have been highly criticized by some lobster stakeholders and public officials, particularly in Maine.

A meeting will be held next week in Gloucester on Aug. 20, from 6 to 9 p.m., at the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office at 55 Great Republic Drive in the Blackburn Industrial Park.

NOAA held a meeting Thursday in Narragansett, Rhode Island, and is scheduled to host one Monday, Aug. 12, in Machias, Maine.

More meetings are scheduled for Aug. 13 in Ellsworth, Maine; Aug. 14 in Waldoboro, Maine; Aug. 15 in South Portland, Maine; Aug. 19 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and Aug. 21 in Bourne, Massachusetts.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


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