NOAA Fisheries to withdraw proposed rule to require turtle excluder devices in c

NOAA Fisheries to withdraw proposed rule to require turtle excluder devices in certain shrimp trawls

Based on new data collected this summer, NOAA is withdrawing a proposed rule to require turtle excluder devices (TEDs) for skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, and wing-net trawls in the southeast shrimp fisheries. NOAA observers collected data that showed the devices may not prevent small sea turtles from being caught in nets as previous data suggested. The proposed rule would have affected 2,600 fishermen, and had not yet taken
effect.

TEDs are very effective at allowing turtles to escape from otter trawl nets operating offshore, but the device may need to be modified to work effectively for the inshore trawl fisheries. Typically, skimmer trawls fish in shallow areas where they tend to encounter smaller, young turtles, while otter trawls fish in both shallow and deeper waters so on average they tend
to encounter larger turtles.

NOAA fishery observers found that turtles captured in skimmer trawls are so small that they are not necessarily able to escape through the TED door. Instead, the smaller turtles can pass through the bars of the TED and get caught inside the end of the net, potentially causing them to drown rather than allowing them to escape as intended. During the observed period, all
of the turtles were released alive with one turtle assumed dead following release due to its behavior on the boat.

“We’re not abandoning this issue, there’s just more work that needs to be done to get it right,” said Dr. Roy Crabtree, southeast regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries. “This is the first time we’ve required observers on skimmer trawls and the information we now have
suggests the conservation benefit does not justify the burden this rule would place on the industry. We need more research looking at different options.”

While TEDs have been required in otter trawls for more than 20 years, fishermen using skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, and wing-net trawls are authorized to use tow time limits instead to help prevent incidental catch of turtles. Limiting the amount of time a net is pulled underwater is one way to reduce impacts of shrimp trawls on sea turtles, as most turtles can survive for up to an hour or more underwater. Historically though, compliance with tow times may be low and is hard to enforce–which was one of the reasons for the proposed rule. As part of adopting future science-based management measures, fishery managers will continue to research turtles captured in skimmer trawls and increase outreach to the shrimp
industry, focusing on education and compliance with tow times.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.

NOAA Fisheries to withdraw proposed rule to require turtle excluder devices in certain shrimp trawls

Based on new data collected this summer, NOAA is withdrawing a proposed rule to require turtle excluder devices (TEDs) for skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, and wing-net trawls in the southeast shrimp fisheries. NOAA observers collected data that showed the devices may not prevent small sea turtles from being caught in nets as previous data suggested. The proposed rule would have affected 2,600 fishermen, and had not yet taken

effect.

TEDs are very effective at allowing turtles to escape from otter trawl nets operating offshore, but the device may need to be modified to work effectively for the inshore trawl fisheries. Typically, skimmer trawls fish in shallow areas where they tend to encounter smaller, young turtles, while otter trawls fish in both shallow and deeper waters so on average they tend

to encounter larger turtles.

NOAA fishery observers found that turtles captured in skimmer trawls are so small that they are not necessarily able to escape through the TED door. Instead, the smaller turtles can pass through the bars of the TED and get caught inside the end of the net, potentially causing them to drown rather than allowing them to escape as intended. During the observed period, all

of the turtles were released alive with one turtle assumed dead following release due to its behavior on the boat.

“We’re not abandoning this issue, there’s just more work that needs to be done to get it right,” said Dr. Roy Crabtree, southeast regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries. “This is the first time we’ve required observers on skimmer trawls and the information we now have

suggests the conservation benefit does not justify the burden this rule would place on the industry. We need more research looking at different options.”

While TEDs have been required in otter trawls for more than 20 years, fishermen using skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, and wing-net trawls are authorized to use tow time limits instead to help prevent incidental catch of turtles. Limiting the amount of time a net is pulled underwater is one way to reduce impacts of shrimp trawls on sea turtles, as most turtles can survive for up to an hour or more underwater. Historically though, compliance with tow times may be low and is hard to enforce–which was one of the reasons for the proposed rule. As part of adopting future science-based management measures, fishery managers will continue to research turtles captured in skimmer trawls and increase outreach to the shrimp

industry, focusing on education and compliance with tow times.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.

Share this article

What is the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)?

The global conveyor belt, shown here, circulates cool subsurface water and warm surface water throughout the world. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation is part of this complex system of global ocean currents.)

The ocean’s water is constantly circulated by currents. Tidal currents occur close to shore and are influenced by the sun and moon. Surface currents are influenced by the wind. However, other, much slower currents that occur from the surface to the seafloor are driven by changes in the saltiness and ocean temperature, a process called thermohaline circulation. These currents are carried in a large “global conveyor belt,” which includes the AMOC.

AMOC stands for Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. The AMOC circulates water from north to south and back in a long cycle within the Atlantic Ocean. This circulation brings warmth to various parts of the globe and also carries nutrients necessary to sustain ocean life.

Continue reading →

Read More

What is latitude?

Latitude lines start at the equator (0 degrees latitude) and run east and west, parallel to the equator. Lines of latitude are measured in degrees north or south of the equator to 90 degrees at the North or South poles.

Lines of latitude, also called parallels, are imaginary lines that divide the Earth. They run east to west, but measure your distance north or south. The equator is the most well known parallel. At 0 degrees latitude, it equally divides the Earth into the Northern and Southern hemispheres. From the equator, latitude increases as you travel north or south, reaching 90 degrees at each pole.

Continue reading →

Read More

What is longitude?

Lines of longitude, also called meridians, are imaginary lines that divide the Earth. They run north to south from pole to pole, but they measure the distance east or west. Longitude is measured in degrees, minutes, and seconds. Although latitude lines are alway equally spaced, longitude lines are furthest from each other at the equator and meet at the poles. A transcript is available that describes this infographic content in plain text. (Image credit: iStock)

Lines of longitude, also called meridians, are imaginary lines that divide the Earth. They run north to south from pole to pole, but they measure the distance east or west.

The prime meridian, which runs through Greenwich, England, has a longitude of 0 degrees. It divides the Earth into the eastern and western hemispheres. The antimeridian is on the opposite side of the Earth, at 180 degrees longitude. Though the antimeridian is the basis for the international date line, actual date and time zone boundaries are dependent on local laws. The international date line zigzags around borders near the antimeridian.

Continue reading →

Read More

What is a barrier island?

Satellite image of Cape Hatteras National Seashore on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory.

Barrier islands form as waves repeatedly deposit sediment parallel to the shoreline. As wind and waves shift according to weather patterns and local geographic features, these islands constantly move, erode, and grow. They can even disappear entirely.

They are generally separated from the mainland by tidal creeks, bays, and lagoons. Beaches and sand dune systems form on the side of the island facing the ocean; the side facing the shore often contains marshes, tidal flats, and maritime forests. These areas are important habitat for seabirds, fish and shellfish, and and nesting sea turtles.

Continue reading →

Read More
Keep Reading