NOAA Fisheries is publishing a temporary rule to allow shrimp fishers to use limited tow times as an alternative to Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) in specific Louisiana state waters from 91° 23' West longitude eastward to the Louisiana/Mississippi border, and seaward out three nautical miles, according to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and fisheries (LDWF).
This temporary rule is effective from November 5 through December 6, 2021.
In the aforementioned affected waters, fishers may tow without TEDs installed no more than 75 minutes, as measured from the time that the trawl doors enter the water until they are removed from the water. This tow time limit is designed to minimize the level of mortality of sea turtles that are captured by trawl nets not equipped with TEDs.
A NOAA Fisheries field investigation determined debris from Hurricane Ida is impeding fisher's ability to use TEDs effectively in the aforementioned waters, LDWF states.
NOAA Fisheries encourages fishers in the affected area to continue to use TEDs if they can do so effectively, even though they are authorized under this action to use restricted tow times. NOAA Fisheries studies have shown that the problem of clogging by seagrass, algae, or by other debris is not unique to TED-equipped nets. When fishers trawl in problem areas, they may experience clogging with or without TEDs. Fishers that continue to use legal TEDs in the affected area do not have to limit their tow times. However, fishers choosing to use tow-time limitations may not simply sew the TED flaps shut; they must remove the TEDs from the trawls.
If conditions persist, NOAA Fisheries may issue additional 30-day temporary rules to allow shrimp fishers to use limited tow times as an alternative to TEDs.
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