SALTONSTALL KENNEDY GRANT PROGRAM
To Introduce New TED Designs to the....
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GRANT NUMBER:  NA57FD0033           NMFS NUMBER:   93-SER-004

REPORT TITLE:  To Introduce New TED Designs to the Southeastern Atlantic Shrimp Fleet and to Compare their Bycatch Exclusion Rates and Shrimp Retention Rates with those of Established TED Designs

AUTHOR:  Vendetti, Richard A.; Overman, Robert G.; Parker, Lindsey G. and Harrington, David L.

PUBLISH DATE:  March 1, 1996

AVAILABLE FROM:  National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Region, 9721 Executive Center Drive, North Koger Building, St. Petersburg, FL 33702.  PHONE: (813) 570-5324

ABSTRACT

In response to increasing numbers of Leatherback turtles on the southeastern Atlantic shrimp grounds and a similar increase in strandings, emergency rules were implemented in the spring of 1993.  Because no existing TED could accommodate such large specimens, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) allowed modifications to the TED exit hole that would enable large sea turtles to escape.  Exit hole modifications are critical to fish reduction and shrimp retention.  This project assesses the shrimp retention and fish exclusion rates of TEDs modified to exclude Leatherback turtles.  This project also made every attempt to involve the commercial shrimping industry in the process of developing technological remedies in TEDs.

Two primary modifications were tested--one soft TED modification and one hard TED modification.  Catch comparisons were conducted between nets fitted with standard TEDs (controls) and modified TEDs (treatments).  The two TED types analyzed were the Morrison TED and the Super-Shooter style hard TED.  Tests were conducted by towing the two pairs of TEDs simultaneously in side-by-side trawling with the commercial shrimp fleet. Analyses of initial tows and subsequent submersible video observations indicated a possible problem in the soft TEDs; therefore the soft TEDs were reinstalled in the middle of the project. 

Although the hard TEDs appeared to function properly throughout this work, a great deal of force was needed to stretch the webbing sufficient to meet the new escape opening specifications cited in the Federal Register.  Nevertheless, the tows were conducted over the course of an entire shrimping season, and the data indicate that a large escape hole could be an acceptable and commercially viable option.  The predominant species of finfish that make up the vast majority of finfish weight had reduction rates similar to those of the standard TEDs.  These species include: the Atlantic menhaden, Atlantic spot, Atlantic croaker, and southern kingfish.  In addition, the soft TED showed a marked effectiveness at finfish bycatch reduction.

 
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