PORTLAND, Maine — Federal fishery regulators have scheduled 15 public meetings along the Eastern Seaboard to allow public input in the development of new regulations aimed to prevent whales from becoming entangled in fishing gear.

The National Marine Fisheries Service plans to have final rules in place in 2014 to protect right, humpback and finback whales from fishing lines that fall vertically through the water, such as those used for lobster traps, gill nets and other pot fisheries.

The first meeting is July 11 in East Machias, followed by other meetings in Maine in Ellsworth, Rockland and Portland.

Additional meetings are scheduled in July and August in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.