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Home > Management Info > TEDs & BRDs > TEDs > FAQ's

Management Information: TEDs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about TEDs

Q1: Why should turtles be excluded from trawl nets?
A1: All sea turtles that occur in U.S. waters are listed as either endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) turtles and breeding populations of green turtles are listed as endangered while the loggerhead (Caretta
caretta) and green (Chelonia mydas) turtles are listed as threatened. Incidental capture of sea turtles in shrimp trawls has been a major factor in the decline of sea turtle populations. Shrimp trawling affects more sea turtles in the U.S. than any other human activity.

Q2: Must fishers replace all TEDs installed before 2003?
A2: No. The new regulation requires modification of the escape openings in most existing TEDS. Grids with an outside measurement of less than 32 inches in width or height must be replaced. Most soft TEDs must be replaced. Only the Parker soft TED is now permitted.

Q3: Are certain TEDs required in certain areas?
A3: Yes. In all offshore waters and in Georgia’s and South Carolina’s inshore waters, either the double cover flap TED or a TED with an opening of at least 71-inch straight line, stretched mesh measurement must be used. In all inshore waters except in Georgia’s and South Carolina’s inshore waters, a 44-inch straight line, stretched mesh measurement must be used. NOTE: Shrimpers have the option to use the larger, offshore openings (double cover or 71-inch openings) in all inshore waters. Hooped hard TEDs (except the Flounder TED) may also be used by shrimpers in these same inshore areas if they meet specific dimensions. See the link inshore hooped hard TED dimensions (97KB PDF file) for details. Contact the appropriate state agency for detailed information about the boundaries of state and federal waters. Louisiana's boundaries are described by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries at http://www.wlf.state.la.us/apps/netgear/index.asp?cn=lawlf&pid=106.

Q4: Will a larger opening allow more shrimp to escape the net?
A4: No. The newly required TED openings have been tested against the old TED, and have been found to retain shrimp similarly. Fishers in northeast and southwest Florida have been using the large TEDs and large escape openings for many years because of their good performance. The proportion of fishers who are expected to have to make major changes in TED gear is comparatively small.

Q5: Can I retain the accelerator funnel in my net?
A5: Possibly. It may have to be modified. An accelerator funnel is one method of keeping shrimp away from the TED exit hole. It directs the shrimp through the bars of the TED into the tailbag. However, federal specifications on construction and installation require a 44-inch horizontal opening on a 44-inch TED and a 71-inch opening on the 71-inch and double cover flap TEDs. Use of the funnel may be restricted by applicable state BRD regulations. Consult the appropriate state agency for information on BRD restrictions. For more information about accelerator funnels, download Allowable Modifications for Single Grid Hard TEDs (738KB PDF file).

Image: Diagram of Accelerator Funnel
Diagram from NOAA Technical Memorandum, The Turtle Excluder Device (TED): A Guide to Better Performance)

Q6: How much will it cost to have a TED modified to meet the new requirement?
A6: A survey of net shops along the Gulf Coast as well as the East Coast showed a cost of $50 to $70 per TED to modify openings in offshore nets, and approximately $35 to modify nets for inshore shrimping. It is understood that most small shrimp vessels carry four TEDs, and larger vessels, 8-10 TEDs.

Q7: Do I have to pull a top opening TED when trawling from the beach out to 10 miles?
A7: No. Under the new regulation the double cover or the 71-inch offshore opening
TED can be used in a top or bottom opening configuration in all waters at all times.

Q8: Do I have to use polyethylene webbing for the exit hole cover (flap)?
A8: No. You may use nylon webbing, if you prefer. However, careful attention should be given to knot orientation regardless of the type of webbing used. Note restrictions barring use of the flap in some areas. For more infomation, download Webbing Flap (55KB PDF file) from the NOAA Technical Memorandum.

Q9: Does the TED grid have to be a certain shape or design?
A9: No. The grid can be any shape as long as it has a minimum height and width of 32-inches (outside diameter measurement) and maintains a spacing of 4-inches between the deflector bars.

Q10: Is a weedless TED a legal TED under the new regulation?
A10: Yes, however it has to have a brace bar.

Q11: Do I have to pull a short flap on a bottom opening TED when trawling from the beach out to 10-miles?
A11: No. The flap on the 71-inch offshore TED and the double cover TED may extend up to 24-inches beyond the posterior edge of the grid regardless of where and what configuration it is used.

Q12: Can I use a chaffing webbing flap on a double cover offshore TED opening?
A12: No. The regulations only allow chaffing webbing to be used on the 71-inch offshore opening and the 44-inch inshore opening TEDs.

Q13: I pull a 20-foot trawl to catch shrimp for my freezer. I am disabled so I use a small winch to retrieve the trawl doors, Do I need a TED?
A13: Yes. A TED is required for any primary trawl that is rigged for fishing if the vessel has onboard any mechanical advantage trawl retrieval systems.

Q14: Do I need a TED in my try net?
A14: Only if the head rope is greater than 12-feet and/or the foot rope is greater than 15-feet. However if the try net is less than 12-feet on the head rope and less that 15-feet on the foot rope and you do not pull a TED, you are required to abide by tow times. Tow times for TED exempt gear are as follows: April 1 - October 1, 55 minutes; November 1 - March 31, 75 minutes.

Q14: I trawl for bait shrimp only. Do I need a TED?
A14: If the state in which you are trawling allows a bait shrimper to hold both a bait license and a commercial license, then you are required to use a TED.

Q15: What if a turtle remains in my trawl, even though it is equipped properly with a TED?
A15: The law provides specific requirements for incidental taking of turtles, including instructions for release or resuscitation. Turtles caught in this manner cannot be consumed, sold, landed, offloaded, transshipped or kept below deck. For more information, download tedregs.pdf (16KB PDF file).

Q16: Does the TED regulation have any exceptions?
A16: Yes. Certain types of nets, certain fishing times, and certain fishing areas are noted as exceptions in the law. These exceptions are very specific. For details, download tedregs.pdf (16KB PDF file).

Q17: Does the TED regulation apply in the same way in all state regulated waters of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic?
A17: No. Shrimp trawlers fishing the inshore, state regulated waters of Georgia and South Carolina must use the larger (offshore) TED openings due to larger turtles encountered in these areas. The required openings are the double-cover or 71-inch opening for single grid hard TEDs, and the 96-inch opening for the Parker soft TED. In states other than Georgia and South Carolina, shrimpers have the option to use the 44-inch TED opening in inshore waters.

For further information regarding TED requirements call NOAA Fisheries in Pascagoula, MS at (228) 762-4591, or go to: http://www.mslabs.noaa.gov/teds.html

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