Advocacy Recommends NOAA Conduct Further Analysis on Turtle Excluder Devices

On June 28, the Office of Advocacy submitted comments to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on a proposed sea turtle conservation rule imposing new shrimp trawling requirements.

Here are several excerpts from the letter, addressed to Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA administrator. The full text is available on the Office of Advocacy’s website.

“The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration (Advocacy) respectfully submits these comments to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) regarding its proposed sea turtle conservation rule to require the use of turtle excluder devices in the nets of all skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, and wing nets rigged for shrimp fishing.

“Through a series of regional roundtables and meetings, Advocacy has conducted extensive outreach with small businesses operating in the southeastern U.S. shrimp fisheries that are concerned that the proposed rule will cause significant economic harm to the already fragile shrimping industry in the Gulf of Mexico.  Advocacy believes that further analysis of the  economic impacts of various alternatives to the proposed rule, as well as further study of the impact shrimping activities have on sea turtle populations, are warranted before NOAA finalizes new sea turtle conservation rules. 

“In light of the significant economic impact the proposed rule would have on small businesses in the commercial shrimping industry, as well as uncertainty regarding the cause of recent sea turtle strandings, Advocacy suggests that NOAA withdraw the proposed rule and re-open a comment period at a later date, when more data is available.”

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