Gov. John Bel Edwards announced today a $250,000 program that will pay part of the cost shrimp fishermen will have to pay for mandated devices to protect sea turtles and other animals from getting trapped in their nets.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will operate the Skimmer Turtle Excluder Device Reimbursement Program (STEDRP), which will reimburse up to 60 percent of the cost for two skimmer Turtle Excluder Devices, commonly called TEDs.
A turtle excluder device is a metal grid installed inside of a shrimp net. Shrimp are captured as they pass through the grid. TEDs prevent the capture and subsequent drowning of sea turtles listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
The cost of the devices vary from $150 to $350.
“I commend the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and their funding partners for putting this program together,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “My administration is committed to getting as much funding as possible to assist our fishing community.”
On April 1, 2021, federal law will require that TEDs must be installed in skimmer vessels 40 feet long and longer. Louisiana fishermen could need from 1,200 to 1,500 TEDs manufactured by the mandated date. The goal of STEDRP is to provide some financial relief to fishermen who have to purchase the devices prior to the effective date.
Eligible participants include fishermen who have current residential skimmer gear licenses, vessels that are 40 feet in length or longer, and have reported landings from 2018 to 2020.
Program participants will be required to attend an informational meeting, facilitated by LDWF and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Gear Monitoring Team. Meeting topics will include specifications for the skimmer TEDs, a review of the sea turtle regulations, where to purchase TEDs that meet specifications and details on the STEDRP.
Fishermen will be registered and tracked for reimbursements through an online system used by LDWF in administering similar programs. LDWF will provide more information on applying for the program and registering for a meeting in the upcoming weeks.
Funding sources for this project include the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Deepwater Horizon Sea Turtle Early Restoration Project.
The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and its funding sources. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation or its funding sources.