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Estimates of cetacean and pinniped bycatch in the 2015 New England sink and mid-Atlantic gillnet fisheries
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    This report provides estimated bycatch of 5 species of small cetaceans and pinnipeds bycaught in the New England sink (NESG) and Mid-Atlantic (MAG) gillnet fisheries. The 2015 total serious injuries and mortalities in the NESG fishery were 177 (coefficient of variation [CV] = 0.28) harbor porpoises(Phocoena phocoena phocoena), 55 (CV = 0.54)shortbeaked common dolphins(Delphinus delphis delphis), 1021 (CV = 0.25) gray seals (Halichoerus grypus grypus), 474 (CV = 0.17) harbor seals (Phoca vitulina concolor), and 119 (CV = 0.34) harp seals (Pagophilus groenlandicus). The NESG estimates are based on observed bycatch consisting of 23 harbor porpoises, 3 short-beaked common dolphins, 131 gray seals, 87 harbor seals, and 12 harp seals. The 2015 total serious injuries and mortalities in the MAG fishery were 33 (CV = 1.16) harbor porpoises, 30 (CV = 0.55)short-beaked common dolphins, 15 (CV = 1.04) gray seals, and 48 (CV = 0.52) harbor seals. The MAG estimates are based on observed bycatch consisting of 2 harbor porpoises, 3 short-beaked common dolphins, 1 gray seal, and 5 harbor seals. Compliance with the 2010 Harbor Porpoise Take Reduction Plan pinger regulations was 86% in 2015, where compliance refers to the correct number of pingers used, not the pingers' functionality. Compliance rates in the 2015 MAG fishery were low for large mesh gillnets (55%) and relatively high for small mesh gillnets (87%).

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