- NOAA Fisheries is publishing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to request comments on requiring Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) on skimmer trawl vessels less than 40 feet in length.
- As part of our efforts to conserve and recover threatened and endangered sea turtle populations, an existing final rule that becomes effective August 1, 2021 will require TEDs that allow the release of small turtles to be used by skimmer trawl vessels 40 feet and greater in length in the Southeastern U.S. shrimp fisheries.
- An abundance of small sea turtles in shallow, coastal waters is attributed to numerous ongoing conservation efforts, such as the protection of sea turtle nesting beaches and the required use of TEDs in otter trawls participating in the shrimp fisheries.
- We have continued testing and analysis of TED designs and use on small skimmer trawls, and now have effective designs that would reduce sea turtle bycatch.
- We are seeking comments on the potential expansion of TED requirements for skimmer trawl vessels less than 40 feet (12.2 meters) in length, the feasibility of employing these TEDs on smaller length vessels, input on the associated costs of any new TED requirements, and other potential environmental impacts. Comments are due by May 20, 2021.
- Skimmer trawl operators are currently allowed to use tow times instead of turtle excluder devices, but tow times are not as effective at reducing sea turtle mortality and are difficult to enforce.
HOW TO COMMENT ON THIS ADVANCED NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING:
The Comment period is open now through May 20, 2021. You may submit comments by electronic submission (described below) or by postal mail. Comments received after the end of the comment period may not be considered by NOAA Fisheries.
FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER: 86 FR 20475 published April 20, 2021.
Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.
2. Click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields.
3. Enter or attach your comments.
Mail: Submit written comments to Michael Barnette, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
Where can I find more information on TEDs, the TED rules, and how to comply with them?
- The ANPR, recent TED rules, frequently asked questions, and fishery bulletins may be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office website at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/southeast/bycatch/turtle-excluder-device-regulations.
- Email at the following: firstname.lastname@example.org
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