Extends Turtle Excluder Device (TED) Exemption
to requests made by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and
Fisheries (LDWF) and marine resource agencies in other Gulf
states, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has authorized
a temporary extension exempting shrimp trawlers from federal
Turtle Excluder Device (TED) requirements in certain state
and federal waters.
trawlers fishing in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas
waters from the Florida-Alabama state line westward to the
boundary shared by Matagorda and Brazoria Counties in Texas
and extending 20 nautical miles offshore continue to be exempt
from federal TED requirements through Dec. 23, 2005.
are reminded that this authorization applies to waters seaward
a distance of 20 nautical miles offshore rather than the 50
nautical miles offshore previously authorized. In lieu of
TEDs, this authorization requires shrimp trawlers to restrict
tow times to 75 minutes. Tow times are measured from the time
trawl doors enter the water until they are retrieved from
the water according to NMFS.
regulations provide for the use of limited tow times as an
alternative to the use of TEDs if determined "that the
presence of debris or other special environmental conditions
in a particular area makes trawling with TED-equipped nets
associated with the hurricanes continues to impact both shrimp
catch and TED performance and has damaged fishing gear as
well. NMFS encourages shrimp trawlers in the affected areas
to continue to use TEDs if possible.
studies have shown that the problem of clogging by seagrass,
algae or by other debris is not unique to TED-equipped nets.
When fishermen trawl in problem areas, they may experience
clogging with or without TEDs. Shrimp trawlers who continue
to use legal TEDs in the affected areas do not have to limit
their tow times. However, shrimpers choosing to use tow-time
limitations may not simply sew the TED flaps shut; they must
remove the TEDs from the trawls.
continue to monitor debris problems. If monitoring indicates
that debris is no longer a problem, then this authorization
may be shortened. If debris continues to be a problem after
the dates above, this authorization may be extended. Fishermen
should monitor NOAA weather radio for announcements or contact
the NMFS Southeast Regional Office at 727-824-5312.