Northern Atlantic Ocean, Northern Pacific Ocean
American Lobster, Dungeness Crab, Groundfish, Snow Crab
Pots and traps fisheries use buoy lines (high-strength ropes) attached to pots and traps to mark gear on the ocean bottom. Buoy lines that extend from the trap on the seafloor to the surface sometimes cause marine mammals and sea turtles to become entangled often leading to severe injury or death. Weak inserts, weak links, weak rope, or weak line, are different types of equipment inserted into buoy lines designed to break or release when a specified force is applied, thereby creating a weak point in the buoy line. If a whale becomes entangled and starts to drag traps, this action could potentially apply enough force on the line that these weak segments will then break increasing the chances for the whale to become disentangled. However, it is also possible that these breaks can occur above the surface while hauling causing dangerous flybacks. Due to their lower success rate and potential dangerous flybacks, ropeless pot/trap systems are recommended over weak inserts where possible.