Sea turtles protected under the U.S Endangered Species Act and incidental capture in trawls made illegal.


Restriction of the importation of Shrimp from any country that did not have in place a sea turtle protection program with comparable effectiveness to the US program was implemented under section 609 of US Public Law 101-162.



An attempt was made by the Fisheries Department Malaysia to introduce TEDs however the plan lacked a clear-cut long implementation plan, comprehensive education and outreach.

This was further confounded by the introduction of the US TED-compliant embargo, following which Malaysia, Thailand, India and Pakistan jointly and successfully contested the requirement of TEDs for shrimp trade with the US through the World Trade Organisation (WTO) policy and so were allowed to continue to fish without TEDs.

1999 - 2006

Eventually the US certification requirement prevailed and countries that continued in the shrimp trade had to comply with TED regulations. However the enforcement capacity in Malaysia was limited by funding and equipment and without enforcement the TED could not made mandatory.


When initial TED trials ended in 2008, MRF set about devising a longer-term plan. The key steps were to:


Educate fishers

Educate policy makers

Provide a voluntary adoption process for a limited period

Then push for regulatory compliance.


Work expanded to Kudat with additional field trials and awareness efforts.

Funded by the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) Malaysia with support from CI Philippines.

1    the-gef-small-grants-programme


A workshop convened in Kuala Terengganu in April bringing together fishers, fishery associations, fishery development agencies, along with NGOs, to introduce the TED programme’s objectives and seek solutions to TED-compliance. Hopefully this workshop would build a capacity amongst local fisher communities to fish more sustainably. The workshop was developed in partnership with the DOFM and assisted by staff from WWF-Malaysia with funding from several organisations both in Malaysia and abroad.


Funding from NOAA Office of International Affairs to conduct a Federal level workshop, including additional training for MRF was conducted in the US alongside NMFS personnel while TEDs were being tested off the coast of Florida.

Following substantial fisher input for the first Malaysia TED, the technical support and encouragement provided by NMFS and MRF led to the modification of a super-shooter TED, allowing the capture of stingrays, a highly valued catch. The new TED design incorporates a four inch (10cm) horizontal bar curved at the bottom of the vertical grids allowing bottom dwelling rays between 50-60cm wide to pass through while still excluding turtles.



MRF conducted another site visit to the USA to work with NOAA NMFS officers in and the Director General of the DOFM from Malaysia to witness the Malaysia TED undergoing NMFS’s controlled trials test and certification process.

A total of 25 sea turtles were tested and all 25 escaped well short of the allotted time limit, with an average time from release to escape at 01:14. This visit also provided the opportunity for discussions on possible collaboration in the future between the US and Malaysia’s DOFM.


Today roughly 25% of boats along the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia have TEDs.

By November 2016 all 194 shrimp trawlers on the east coast will be using TEDs

Sabah the challenge is far greater: some 500 trawlers and only 60 or so have TEDs so far. But these 40 TEDs, which represent only ~10% of the fleet, are saving some 230 to 310 turtles each year.