Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Turtle Excluder Device or Trawler Eliminator Devices

Turtle excluder devices turn out to be fairly cheap -you can buy one here for $240. The main problem is that fishermen, who believe that the device causes their nets to dump 20 percent or more of the shrimp as well, call them "trawler eliminator devices" and have a variety of ways to avoid using them even if they are installed.

During this years Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill the New York Times had an article claiming that most of the dead turtles found in the Gulf of Mexico were a result of shrimp boats taking advantage of more lax marine enforcement during the Gulf oil spill:
Turtle Deaths Called Result of Shrimping, Not Oil Spill.

Dr. Brian Stacy, a veterinary pathologist who specializes in reptiles, said that more than half the turtles dissected so far, most of which were found shortly after the spill, had sediment in their lungs or airways, which indicated they might have been caught in nets and drowned. 

“The only plausible scenario where you would have high numbers of animals forcibly submerged would be fishery interaction,” he said. “That is the primary consideration for this event.” 

Many times the usual number of turtles have been found stranded this year, but NOAA has cautioned from the beginning that the oil spill is not necessarily to blame. 

Shrimp boats are the chief commercial fishing danger for turtles because they tow their nets underwater for long distances, and turtles trapped in them are unable to come up for air. Shrimpers are supposed to equip their nets with turtle excluder devices, which help turtles escape. But environmentalists have complained that some shrimpers disregard the law or do not install the devices properly.

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