WASHINGTON (CN) – U.S. shrimp trawlers will have to use turtle excluder devices or TEDs in their nets to protect against bycatch of endangered turtles, under new rules proposed by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The rules would withdraw provisions that allow trawler ships to avoid using TEDs by limiting when and for how long the ships can deploy their nets.
A TED usually is composed of a grid of bars with an opening positioned at either end of a trawl net. Shrimp and small fish pass through the bars, but larger animals like marine turtles and sharks hit the bars and are ejected through the opening.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says current TED designs are 97 percent effective at excluding turtles from shrimp trawls.All marine turtles endemic to U.S. waters were given protection as either threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act in 1978.
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