Volunteers with the Sea Turtle Restoration Project will partner with the non-profit LightHawk organization to watch-dog from an airplane over the shrimp fleet along the Texas coast next weekend with observers and photographers aboard. The Texas shrimping season will reopen at sundown on July 15 after a two-month closure when shrimp was allowed to grow to a more profitable size.
LightHawk is a volunteer-based environmental aviation organization that provides donated flights to make the aerial perspective freely available to conservation groups.
“The LightHawk flights will enable us to gather information about shrimp boats in Texas waters,” said Carole Allen, Gulf Office Director of the Sea Turtle Restoration Project. “This year, we ask that Texas and federal law enforcement look closely at Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) installation. Recent inspections of shrimp boats in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana by federal officials have found 90% of shrimping vessels not in compliance with the law with some illegal fishing gear that would result in the death of a sea turtle.”
Click here for our press release detailing lack of TEDs compliance in the Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawl fleet.
Sea Turtle Restoration Project has called for all Texas-bound shrimp boats to be stopped at the Sabine River for TED inspections by Texas Parks and Wildlife and NOAA law enforcement before boats are allowed into Texas waters.