Southeastern Shrimp Otter (TED) Inspections Compliance Sea Turtle Capture Rates and TED Effectiveness
When legally-constructed Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) operate correctly in shrimp otter trawls, a small percentage of the sea turtles entering the nets (i.e., ~3%) still do not escape and are captured. When TEDs are installed incorrectly and/or not properly maintained, TED effectiveness can be reduced and result in more than a 3% sea turtle capture rate; in severe cases, TED effectiveness can be completely compromised (i.e., have a 100% sea turtle capture rate).
The April 18, 2014, Biological Opinion requires NOAA Fisheries to maintain monitoring and ensure compliance with TED regulations at a level that keeps overall average sea turtle catch rates (i.e., sea turtles that do not escape via the TED and are captured) in the shrimp otter trawl fleet at or below 12%. NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) and Southeast Fishery Science Center, Pascagoula Gear Monitoring Team (GMT), inspect TEDs in otter trawls on shrimp vessels in the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico for their compliance with TED regulations. The GMT, with assistance from NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office’s Protected Resources Division, analyzes the TED inspection data to estimate sea turtle capture rates and TED effectiveness.