Sea Turtle Conservation; Shrimp Trawling Requirements
On December 16, 2016, NOAA Fisheries published a proposed rule to require TEDs on skimmer trawl, pusher-head trawl, and wing net vessels.
We are proposing to withdraw the alternative tow time restriction and require all skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, and wing nets (butterfly trawls) rigged for fishing—with the exception of vessels participating in the Biscayne Bay wing net fishery prosecuted in Miami-Dade County, Florida—to use turtle excluder devices (TEDs) designed to exclude small turtles in their nets. The intent of this proposed rule is to reduce incidental bycatch and mortality of sea turtles in the southeastern U.S. shrimp fisheries, and to aid in the protection and recovery of listed sea turtle populations. We also are proposing to amend the definition of tow times to better clarify the intent and purpose of tow times to reduce sea turtle mortality, and to refine additional portions of the TED requirements to avoid potential confusion.
Written comments will be accepted through February 14, 2017.
Public hearings on the proposed rule will be held in January 2017.