|Turtle Excluder Device|
Before regulations required Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) in all US shrimp boats, the National Academy of Sciences concluded that shrimp trawling killed more sea turtles in US waters than all other human means combined. The United Nations estimated that the U.S. shrimp fleet caught over 47,000 sea turtles each year before manadatory TED use in 1992.
A properly used Turtle Excluder Device prevents the needless drowning of sea turtles. TEDs are simple and inexpensive devices, similar in appearance to a barbecue grill, that guide the turtles through an escape flap. TEDs also help protect overall marine biodiversity. Up to 60% of the bycatch (catch that is not intentionally targeted) is also reduced through the proper use of TEDs.
There are no international laws requiring the use of TEDs on shrimp nets. However, many nations have put into place laws requiring their use since the United States passed an import ban on all shrimp from foreign shrimpers that do not use TEDs.
Still, it is estimated that 150,000 sea turtles are caught in shrimp nets every year. When these nets are not equipped with Turtle Excluder Devices, the turtles drown.