Novabraid SSL 2.0 Breakaway Link was found to have superior performance to other low break strength rope alternatives by a team of scientists and lobster fishermen headed by marine scientist Amy Knowlton of the New England Aquarium and the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life as part of a larger study conducted to create protection for the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. After months of rigorous testing on the water and in the laboratory, the Novabraid SSL 2.0 consistently worked as designed to help reduce the damage caused by vertical ropes used in lobster fishing when encountered by a larger marine mammal. Based upon a constrictor design, similar to that in a toy finger trap, the breakaway link is inserted at intervals in the vertical line of a trawl of lobster traps, enabling a whale or other large creature to break free if entangled in the fishing line, thus reducing the likelihood of injury or death to the animal. The links have a lighter breaking strength than the heavy duty 3 strand ropes used for hauling lobster pots, but still carry sufficient strength and durability to allow the fishermen to protect their gear with a low cost of implementation of the breakaway links.
Further studies and discussion by the Whale Bycatch Reduction Team and other agencies are scheduled to follow with other topics ranging from fisheries closures to rope-less fishing options.