11-45-CWS | April 26, 2011
BILOXI, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR) will host a NOAA Fisheries training session on how to reduce sea turtle interactions and correct installation of turtle excluder device (TED) gear for both otter and skimmer trawls on Wednesday, May 4, 2011. The training will be held at 9 a.m. at the Bolton State Building, 1141 Bayview Avenue in Biloxi. Call DMR Shrimp and Crab Bureau at 228-374-5000 for more information.
Recently there have been higher reports of endangered sea turtle sightings and strandings in Mississippi, the DMR remains active in efforts to reduce fishery-sea turtle interactions and is continuing its partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), through the BP Recovered Oil for Wildlife Fund, to provide free-of-charge TED gear and installation instructions to Mississippi commercial shrimpers who agree to voluntarily use TEDs in their skimmer trawls.
So far through the program, the DMR has given out 316 TEDs to 158 boats. If you are interested in receiving free TED gear and installation instructions for your Mississippi commercial skimmer trawl, please contact the DMR Shrimp and Crab Bureau at 228-374-5000.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has indicated that TED gear for Gulf of Mexico shrimpers using skimmer trawls may be required in the near future. This gear update would relieve skimmer trawl shrimpers from tow-time restrictions, and the 55-minute skimmer trawl tow time will still be in place to protect sea turtles if a vessel doesn’t have TEDs installed.
For questions about program funding and conditions, contact the NFWF at 262-567-0601. For questions about the potential federal TED gear requirement for skimmer trawls, please contact the NMFS Regional Office at 727-824-5312.
The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is dedicated to enhancing, protecting and conserving marine interests of the state by managing all marine life, public trust wetlands, adjacent uplands and waterfront areas to provide for the optimal commercial, recreational, educational and economic uses of these resources consistent with environmental concerns and social changes. Visit the DMR online at www.dmr.ms.gov
Contact: Shelly Becker