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Spotlight Research Project

“An Expanded Outreach Program and Technology Transfer of Updated Bycatch Reduction Devices and Turtle Excluder Devices to the Southeastern U.S. Shrimp Industry” - NA11NMF4330127 (#118); NA12NMF4330088 (#122)

In light of the recent issues facing the shrimp industry relating to TED compliance and sea turtle strandings, Foundation Regional Coordinators Gary Graham and Captain Lindsey Parker have stepped up dockside outreach throughout the Gulf and South Atlantic.  The Foundation received funding in July, 2011 to conduct TED and BRD outreach and technology transfer in southeast ports (#118).  Outreach consists of informal dockside meetings and workshops. The Coordinators offer their expertise to boat owners/captains/crew and in many cases, include courtesy inspections of installed TEDs aboard vessels.  Comprehensive educational thrusts have been directed toward TED/BRD technology transfer and outreach in order to maximize industry participation and compliance with TED/BRD regulations.

Intensive TED outreach work has been directed toward Louisiana and Texas.  With the support of the Louisiana Shrimp Association and Louisiana Sea Grant / Texas Shrimp Association and Texas Sea Grant, Parker and Graham have inspected TEDs and demonstrated proper TED construction in major ports.  Graham reported that the vast majority of the gear was compliant and built to federal specifications.  Most of the changes they suggested involved only minor modifications of the gear.  Although very few TED grids were found to have too high an angle, they were shocked to discover some of the “fixed angle” TEDs installed into the nets to be at too small of an angle.  This phenomenon does not negatively impact sea turtle exclusion, but it does significantly reduce shrimp retention.

Parker and Graham indicate that much of the new gear they are seeing is being obtained from net shops that have made great strides in providing compliant gear.  They report that it is gratifying to provide this type of outreach.  Not only does it assure that fishermen are not unknowingly utilizing TEDs that do not function properly, there were numerous opportunities to provide input about changes that can help prevent shrimp loss.

The Foundation team will be returning to various docks throughout the Southeast to provide TED technology transfer.  They stress they believe the most effective way to accomplish TED outreach is to get on boats and work with fishermen on a one-on-one basis or in small groups.  This work was featured in the November 2011 issue of National Fisherman.  Also, the Foundation received funds through an additional award to continue this important outreach work.