Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

Turtle saving devices are not yet required as the regulators have pushed back their decision until later this yer. Can the turtles live with this decision?

Coronavirus pandemic restrictions over the past year have limited in-person workshops and training opportunities for fishers to install escape hatches called turtle excluder devices, or TEDs, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday. Therefore, the new rules announced in 2019 will take effect Aug. 1 instead of on Thursday. “The delay … is to allow NOAA Fisheries additional time for training … , ensuring TEDs are built and installed properly and for responding to installation and maintenance problems when the regulations go in effect,” the statement said.

Six species of endangered turtles are in the Gulf and the regulation effect all boats at least 40 feet in length.

Diagram of a turtle excluder device (TED). Courtesy of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority

NOAA Fisheries is reconsidering whether to require the devices on boats shorter than 40 feet “and whether additional rule making is currently warranted,” the statement said. In 2019, the agency said the changes from rules proposed in 2016 would cut the likely number of turtles saved from more than 2,400 a year to as few as 1,160. The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental nonprofit, notified the government in January that it will sue if the rule isn’t changed. “I am optimistic that they will do something but eager to see a commitment on paper to actually commit to taking action, as they did in their 2016 proposal before [former President Donald] Trump reversed it,” the group’s Florida director, Jaclyn Lopez, said.

The earlier proposals did include smaller boats. The excluders have been required for off shore boats for years.

No Turtle Saving Devices – yet
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