Written by Jen Finn
Skimmer-trawl operators will not be required to outfit their nets with turtle-excluder devices, following research showing that a majority of the endangered reptiles snagged as bycatch in the shallow-water shrimpers' nets were small enough to slip through the contraptions.
"Fifty-eight percent of those turtles were small enough to fit through the current legal size of the bars on TEDs," said Bob Hoffman, chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's endangered species branch. "The legal maximum space between the bars is 4 inches, so more than half of the turtles would possibly fit through that space and go back to the end of the net, thereby not being saved."
TEDs, a grid of bars in a trawl net that allows trapped sea turtles to escape unscathed, are currently required on only certain types of boats, including otter trawls, which trail nets from the rear of the boat along the ocean floor. Skimmer trawls, which drag nets off the sides in shallower water, have thus far been exempt from the rule.
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NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.
The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.Read more...
Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.
Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.Read more...