Turtle Excluder Device Opening Final Rule
NOAA Fisheries is amending the turtle excluder device (TED) regulations to enhance their effectiveness in reducing sea turtle mortality resulting from trawling in the southeastern United States. NOAA Fisheries has determined that:
- some current approved TED designs do not adequately exclude leatherback turtles and large, immature and sexually mature loggerhead and green turtles;
- several approved TED designs are structurally weak and do not function properly under normal fishing conditions;
- and modifications to the trynet and bait shrimp exemptions to the TED requirements are necessary to decrease lethal take of sea turtles.
These amendments are necessary to protect endangered and threatened sea turtles in the Atlantic Area (all waters of the Atlantic Ocean south of the North Carolina/Virginia border and adjacent seas, other than the Gulf Area, and all waters shoreward thereof) and Gulf Area (all waters of the Gulf of Mexico west of 81o W. long. and all waters shoreward thereof).