NOAA: Ida debris exempts E Louisiana shrimpers from TEDs

November 5, 2021 GMT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Hurricane Ida has left so much debris along Louisiana’s eastern coast that shrimpers there may limit trawl times rather than using escape hatches for sea turtles, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday.

A NOAA Fisheries investigation found that the debris is impeding effective use of turtle excluder devices, also known as TEDs, along more than half of the coast, the agency said.

Shrimpers in those waters may trawl for up to 75 minutes at a time without turtle excluder devices through Dec. 6, and NOAA Fisheries may extend the deadline if conditions persist, a news release said.

The temporary exemption covers an area within 3 nautical miles (about 3.5 miles or 5.5 kilometers) of the coast from longitude 91.23 west — roughly, south of the eastern end of the mouth of Atchafalaya Bay — to the Louisiana-Mississippi state line.

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The 75-minute limit is designed to minimize sea turtle deaths, NOAA Fisheries said.

The agency encouraged shrimpers in the area to use TEDs if they can do so effectively.

“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,” the news release said.

It said those choosing to limit tow times must remove the TEDs entirely rather than sewing them shut.