Commercial Trawl Fisheries
The Problem: It is estimated that thousands of sea turtles are injured or killed each year as a result of commercial fishing activity in U.S. and international waters. These injuries and deaths take place both while turtles are migrating through fishing areas and in fishing areas that are used as feeding grounds by sea turtles.
Trawling involves large
In the U.S., the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) requires all U.S. trawl shrimp fishing
In the United States, sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Beyond U.S. waters, there is no enforced law to initiate and support bycatch reduction programs. Nevertheless, the growing international interest in reducing bycatch is motivated by numerous factors such as
Species Affected: All sea turtles are affected by commercial fisheries. Loggerheads and leatherbacks have the greatest risk because of their feeding habitats.
The Solution: The use of Turtle Excluder Devices in all trawl fisheries, not just shrimp. Time and area closures have been instituted in the scallop dredge fleet and various gill net fisheries to protect sea turtles.
* Petition the government to continually inspect fishing vessels to ensure they are following the protection laws;
* Show support for companies and countries employing TEDs;
* Inform and encourage family and friends to purchase seafood from responsible fisheries.
Case Study: In September 2006, the U.S. government authorized 25 fisheries to kill about 10,000 sea turtles and injure 334,000 each year! This doesn't account for all the companies that fish on the oceans as these were the only ones assessed by the federal government. This study found that even if the companies reach the limits specified the operations are not shut down, the limit simply gets raised. The report also stated that some trawl fisheries catch up to 12 times the legal limit. There is currently legislation in
* Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs)
* Sea Turtle Conservation; Shrimp Trawling Requirements
* Trawl Fishing Threatens Loggerheads
* Sea Turtles and Atlantic Scallop Fisheries
* State Trawl Fisheries in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico