Turtle Excluder Device Regulations
Turtle excluder devices (TED) have been required in the United States beginning in 1987. The southeastern shrimp fisheries—which once faced severe restrictions and closures to protect endangered sea turtles—have continued to operate while saving the lives of sea turtles by using TEDs.
Turtle excluder devices are currently only required in trawl fisheries targeting shrimp and summer flounder in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.
The United States Code of Federal Regulations contains the detailed regulations that NOAA Fisheries has issued to protect sea turtles under the Endangered Species Act. Title 50, Section 223 details the federal laws regarding sea turtle protections and TED usage:
- 50 CFR 223.205: Sea Turtles
- 50 CFR 223.206: Exceptions to Prohibitions Relating to Sea Turtles
- 50 CFR 223.207: Approved TEDs
Additional requirements for fishermen:
- Sea Turtle Safe Handling and Resuscitation Guidelines (PDF, 9 pages)
Proposed Rule to Require TEDs on Skimmer Trawl, Pusher-Head Trawl, and Wing Net Vessels
In 2016, NOAA Fisheries proposed 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. The intent of this proposed rule is to reduce incidental bycatch and mortality of sea turtles in shrimp fisheries in the southeastern United States, and to aid in the protection and recovery of ESA-listed sea turtle populations. Learn more about the proposed rule.
Sea Turtle Bycatch - Observer Data
NOAA Fisheries produces data on observed sea turtle interactions and reports estimated sea turtle interaction rates and the amount of sea turtle bycatch in the skimmer trawl component of Southeast U.S. shrimp fisheries.
Observer Coverage of the 2014 Gulf of Mexico Skimmer Trawl Fishery (NOAA Tech Memo, NMFS-SEFSC-666)
Observer Coverage of the 2013 Gulf of Mexico Skimmer Trawl Fishery (NOAA Tech Memo, NMFS-SEFSC-654)
Observer Coverage of the 2012 Gulf of Mexico Skimmer Trawl Fishery (NOAA Tech Memo, NMFS-SEFSC-636)
Management of Federal Shrimp Fisheries
In addition to our work on TEDs, NOAA Fisheries is responsible for the management of shrimp fisheries in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. For more information about shrimp fisheries management in the Southeast region, please visit our Gulf of Mexico Operations Branch or our South Atlantic Operations Branch.
For more information about TED regulations, contact:
Michael Barnette, Protected Resources Division
NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office
Phone: (727) 551-5794