Target: National Marine Fisheries Service
Goal: Require all U.S. shrimp boats to use turtle-safe nets.
An estimated 6,000 sea turtles die every year from accidental capture in shrimp trawl nets. New protective measures proposed by the National Marine Fisheries Service could save these turtles from drowning by requiring Turtle Excluder Devices in all trawls. Support legal protections for turtles that promote responsible fishing methods.
Commercial shrimp boats that operate in the shallow inshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast of the U.S. use skimmer trawl nets that accidentally capture about 28,000 sea turtles per year. Thanks to the tireless advocacy efforts by marine conservation groups, the National Marine Fisheries Service has proposed a rule that would require the shrimp fishing industry to install Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) in all skimmer trawls to reduce turtle bycatch.
TEDs are specialized devices that allow captured large animals such as sea turtles to escape from a net relatively unharmed without losing the targeted smaller species. Though the effectiveness of TEDs can be reduced by a variety of factors, overall they greatly reduce sea turtle mortality. Additionally, TEDs cost very little to install. Since most species of sea turtles are either threatened or endangered, the use of TEDs should be not only required, but also vigorously encouraged.
Sign the petition below to voice your support for the protections proposed by the National Marine Fisheries Service to save sea turtles from drowning in shrimp nets.
Dear National Marine Fisheries Service,
I am writing to express my support for the legal protections you have proposed to save thousands of sea turtles from drowning in shrimp nets. Requiring the commercial shrimp fishing industry to install Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) in all skimmer trawl nets will save an estimated 5,500 sea turtles from accidental capture. Since most species of sea turtles are either threatened or endangered, the use of TEDs should be not only required, but also vigorously encouraged.
TEDs have been shown to greatly reduce sea turtle mortality. They operate with a simple, straightforward mechanism and have very low costs. While I enthusiastically applaud their potential for turtle restoration, I also would like to remind you that the effectiveness of TEDs can be reduced by a variety of factors. While environmental characteristics will no doubt influence the ease with which turtles can escape from the nets, opposition from the shrimp industry is the greatest barrier to achieve real protection. As such, I would like to urge you to implement the appropriate educational measures so shrimpers understand the importance of using TEDs and become active participants in restoring sea turtle populations.
[Your Name Here]