NOAA shelves turtle protection plans

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it is withdrawing plans by its fisheries service to require “turtle excluder devices” for small fishing operations that trawl for shrimp in state waters.

NOAA said data collected over the summer showed the devices — which are escape hatches for sea turtles on nets — may not keep small turtles from being caught in the shallower waters that would have been subject to the requirement.

“The information we now have suggests the conservation benefit does not justify the burden this rule would place on the industry. We need more research looking at different options,” Roy Crabtree, southeast regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries, said in a statement.

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