Obama administration to consider requiring turtle excluder devices for Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery

The administration of United States President Barack Obama will soon release rules designed to protect sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico from shrimp trawling nets, according to the marine nonprofit group Oceana.

The U.S. government will release proposed regulations by 15 December, 2016, aimed at creating better protections for turtles classified as endangered or threatened, according to Oceana. The group sued the government last year, arguing it was violating the Endangered Species Act by failing to determine and monitor the threat shrimp fishing in the Southeast U.S. creates for sea turtles.

“Year after year, the federal government allows tens of thousands of sea turtles to drown in shrimp trawl nets in the Gulf and Atlantic, in violation of federal law. Oceana is pleased that the Obama administration has finally recognized its responsibility to take action to recover these amazing and vulnerable creatures before it’s too late, and we hope the rule will do just that,” Oceana campaign director Lora Snyder said in a press release."

Oceana has called for the regulations to require the use of turtle excluder devices (TEDs), which have been proven to be effective at allowing sea turtles and other non-targeted species to escape driftnets.

“Yet their use is not enforced, or even required, in all vessels,” Snyder said. “By adopting a strong rule, the Obama administration has an opportunity to save thousands of sea turtles while also leaving a legacy of commitment to profitable, sustainable fishing.”

Oceana claims that shrimp trawls kill an estimated 53,000 turtles annually.


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