LA Sea Turtles Get Celebrity Advocate

NEW ORLEANS – Television star, author and fashion designer Lauren Conrad is advocating for the protection of sea turtles in U.S. waters.

         Conrad is lending her celebrity to a new Oceana PSA campaign to protect sea turtles from the perils of dangerous nets and fishing practices.

         Oceana is planning to forward letters in support of saving endangered sea turtles to government officials on World Sea Turtle Day, June 16, 2016.

         Oceans reps said the U.S. government allows over 50,000 endangered and threatened sea turtles to be needlessly killed by the southeast shrimp trawl fishery in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

         They report the fishery throws back 64 percent of what it catches, exceeding 229 million pounds of bycatch.

         Oceana is advocating for the mandatory used of Turtle Excluder Devices (TED), that are specialized metal grates inserted in trawl nets that allow captured sea turtles to escape. They are 97 percent effective at reducing the number of sea turtles killed. 

         Reps said the government only requires TEDs for certain kinds of trawl nets, but they have the authority to require TEDs on all shrimp trawls.

         They report state wildlife agents are authorized to conduct inspections aboard LA shrimp vessels to make sure they are using required turtle excluder devices that allow sea turtles to escape nets.

 

         Oceana wants authorities to:

 

•Issue a fishery-wide Turtle Excluder Device (TED) requirement

• Transition the otter trawl fishery to a new and improved TED design

• Enforce the use of TEDs and other bycatch reduction devices in all types of trawls

• Increase observer coverage (monitoring to ensure compliance with regulations)

• Implement limits on the number of threatened and endangered sea turtles that can be killed by the fishery

 

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