Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coast shrimpers may face new restrictions because of the damage the industry is causing to threatened and endangered sea turtles, federal regulators announced Friday.
The National Marine Fisheries Service said it would assess the damage shrimpers are causing to turtle populations. Many of the smaller shrimp boats that use skimmer trawls are not required to use special devices that enable turtles to swim away when they get caught in a net.
Between January and June, 379 sea turtles were found stranded along the Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana coastline, the NMFS said. Turtle deaths have been linked to shrimp nets and trawls.
Roy Crabtree, regional administrator for the NMFS, said regulators would look at requiring more shrimpers to add the turtle-saving gear to their nets. He said closing some areas to shrimping would be examined too, but he added that closing a fishery is "the last resort."
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/06/24/2283196/feds-eye-tougher-measures-to-protect.html#ixzz1QQIx9GCR