NOAA: Shrimpers not responsible for turtle deaths
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Fisheries Service has denied three separate petitions that would have immediately shutdown the U.S. shrimp industry due to unexplained sea turtle deaths in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA).
NOAA Fisheries said there was little or no shrimp fishing activity during times of increased turtle strandings, reported the SSA. The petitions were filed by the Turtle Island Restoration Network, Center for Biological Diversity and Oceana, and, according to the SSA, falsely claimed that shrimpers are largely responsible for the more than 400 stranded turtles documented in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
“These environmental groups are attempting to hold thousands of hardworking shrimpers accountable for the deaths of sea turtles that occurred when the fishery was not active,” said John Williams, executive director of the SSA. “Their continued efforts to stop shrimp trawling divert valuable time and resources from identifying the real cause of the unusual sea turtle strandings.”