Louisiana Legislature Passes Bill To Save Thousands of Sea Turtles
Bill Requires LA Shrimp Trawlers to Use Turtle Excluder Devices
Press Release Date: June 9, 2015
Baton Rouge, La- Today, the Louisiana Legislature passed bill HB 668, which would reverse a 1987 state law contributing to the deaths of thousands of sea turtles every year in shrimp trawl nets off the state’s coast. Federal law requires most shrimp trawlers to use Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs), which create an opening in trawl nets to allow trapped sea turtles to escape before they drown. Louisiana is currently the only state that refuses to enforce this federal law, even though it is a major player in the Southeast Shrimp Trawl Fishery and likely has a significant impact on sea turtle mortality. The bill passed today would repeal this state law, and allows Louisiana state officials to enforce the use of TEDs in shrimp trawls.
The bill has received particular support from the state’s own shrimp industry, with the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force voting in favor of reversing the law in April, partly to help improve the conservation rating of their shrimp. Louisiana is currently the only state that is “red-listed” on the popular Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Guide.
Oceana Fisheries Campaign Manager Gib Brogan released the following statement:
“We applaud the Louisiana Legislature and Louisiana shrimpers for recognizing that by protecting sea turtles, they’re protecting their livelihoods. This bill will lead to the Louisiana shrimp industry having access to 13,000 additional restaurants and stores across the country to sell their product. As the industry battles cheap shrimp imports from around the world, it needs every available market to sell its wild catch.
It’s simply unacceptable for thousands upon thousands of endangered and threatened sea turtles to be unnecessarily killed every year when there is a proven solution to this problem. This bill is a win-win for both sea turtles and fishermen.
Oceana now calls on Governor Jindal to listen to his constituents and sign this bill.”
Oceana sent a letter to Gov. Jindal last year requesting he repeal the law and offering to meet with Louisiana officials to offer scientific expertise verifying that TEDs have been proven 97 percent effective at reducing sea turtle mortality.
To learn more about Oceana’s work protecting sea turtles, please click here.