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Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan

The goal of the Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan (BDTRP) is to reduce serious injuries and deaths, or bycatch, of the Western North Atlantic coastal bottlenose dolphin stock (Tursiops truncatus) due to accidental entanglement in nine U.S. commercial fisheries.

Objectives of the BDTRP:

Short-Term Goal: Within six months, reduce bycatch of bottlenose dolphins caused by fisheries to below the potential biological removal level.
Long-Term Goal: Within five years, reduce bycatch caused by fisheries to insignificant levels approaching a zero mortality rate, while taking into account other factors, such as the economy of the fishery.

Geographic Scope:
The geographic scope of the BDTRP is based on the range of the Western North Atlantic coastal bottlenose dolphin stock. It includes all marine waters within 6.5 nautical miles (nmi) (12 km) of shore from the New York-New Jersey border southward to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and within 14.6 (nmi) (27 km) of shore from Cape Hatteras, southward to, and including the east coast of Florida down to the Fishery Management Council demarcation line between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Within this overall geographic scope, there are seven management units (MUs). Regulatory measures are organized according to these MUs and by specific locations.



Affected Fisheries:
Mid-Atlantic Coastal Gillnet Fishery  
North Carolina Roe Mullet Stop
Virginia Pound Net Fishery  
North Carolina Long Haul Seine Fishery
Mid-Atlantic Haul/Beach Seine Fishery  
Southeastern U.S. Atlantic Shark Gillnet Fishery
Atlantic Blue Crab Trap/Pot Fishery  
Southeast Atlantic Gillnet Fishery
North Caroloina Inshore Gillnet  

Restricted Gear:
Gear restricted by the BDTRP includes small, medium, and large-mesh gillnets. The regulatory and non-regulatory recommendations generally seek to reduce soak times or modify fishing practices to limit bycatch of bottlenose dolphins.

In May 2002 after five team meetings, the Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Team (BDTRT) submitted a draft BDTRP to NOAA Fisheries Service containing consensus regulatory and non-regulatory recommendations. The regulatory recommendations suggested reducing soak times, modifying fishing practices, hauling small mesh gillnets every 24-hours, maintaining a proximity to deployed gear to limit bycatch of bottlenose dolphins, and gear marking requirements. The non-regulatory recommendations suggested conducting education and outreach, as well as improving research, monitoring, stranding data, and observer coverage.

The BDTRT met for a sixth time in April 2003 because the original recommendations did not meet the
potential biological removal for all management units, and updated coastal bottlenose dolphin abundance data became available after the draft BDTRP was submitted to NOAA Fisheries Service. The BDTRT provided an addendum to the consensus recommendations in May 2003.

After incorporating the majority of the BDTRT’s consensus recommendations, NOAA Fisheries Service published a proposed rule to implement the BDTRP (69 FR 65127 [pdf] [164 KB]) on November 10, 2004. The public had the opportunity to provide comments for 90 days, during which NOAA Fisheries Service received 4,140 comments. After consideration of these comments and additional information received, NOAA Fisheries Service published a final rule implementing the BDTRP (71 FR 24776 [pdf] [1.9 MB] ) on April 26, 2006.

Although the BDTRP is finalized, the BDTRT and NOAA Fisheries Service will meet periodically to monitor implementation and effectives of the plan at meeting its objectives.

More Information on the take reduction plan process:

Take Reduction Planning

For additional information on this subject contact: Stacey Carlson



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Last Updated: March 18, 2013

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