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TED development in the U.S between 1978-present day

1978

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Sea turtle became protected under the U.S Endangered Species Act,. Incidental captures in trawl nets were made illegal, certain areas were closed to shrimping, tow times were reduced and fishing gear was modified to reduce capture rates.

1980

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) began to develop a new style of excluder device compared to that of previous webbing designs that clogged easily and reduced shrimp catch rates. The NMFS Turtle Excluder Device (TED) was a rigid design located well inside the net. This TED was designed to separate turtles already inside the net from the catch of the target species and proved to be effective with high separation rates.

1981

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TED design became effective in reducing turtle captures and so a voluntary adoption program was initiated and TEDs were distributed to shrimpers for trial testing. However shrimpers evaluated that the TED was too large and problematic.

1982

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TED design modified based on shrimpers evaluations, characteristics were improved but the turtle capture rate was not low enough to provide voluntary incentive.

1982-1983

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A number of designs were introduced to improve acceptance, modifications included greater finfish exclusion, smaller size and collapsible. Voluntary use increased slightly.

1985

Assessment of voluntary TED use revealed less than 1% acceptance.

June 29, 1987

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NOAA Fisheries published the final TED regulations for mandatory usage in the U.S shrimping industry. This decision was met with a strong opposition from the industry and there was inconsistency in the times and areas where the use of TEDs were enforced.

1989

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Wide use of TEDs came into effect as well as the development of new TED designs, bringing with it more information on the efficiency of various designs. Controlled tests using divers and turtles allowed for candidate TED certification and installation requirements. This also provided an opportunity for industry to evaluate new ideas, resulting in improved performance for turtles and shrimp retention.

Negotiations developed with foreign nations for sea turtle conservation. Laws are introduced that ban the U.S from importing commercially harvested shrimp and only those that have been approved for reducing sea turtle capture in shrimp trawls. Certification must be completed annually in order to export shrimp the United States.

1990s, 1994

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TED designs and regulations are continually improved and adjusted, with new designs being introduced.  Approval of a TED modification enabling leatherbacks to escape from small grid TEDs.

1994-2003

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Introduction of the Parker TED. 2003 introduced larger TED escape openings to improve the exclusion leatherback turtles and adult loggerheads and green turtles. A double-cover escape opening consisting of two mesh flaps covering the escape hole, provided enhanced turtle exclusion as well as greater shrimp retention.

The last 10 years

TEDS Trip May 09_180

Following more than a decade of mandatory use of TEDs throughout the shrimp fishing industry, improvements to the gear are carried out nearly every year. NMFS continue to work with the industry evaluating new designs aimed at solving fishery- and region-specific issues.

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