One of the major threats to marine turtles in the marine environment is incidental capture, injury, and mortality during fishing operations. Of the many fishing methods used around the world, trawling is one of the more destructive and has been responsible for many turtles drowning after being trapped in a trawl net.
To attempt to reduce the amount of turtles caught as bycatch by trawlers something called a Turtle Excluder Device (TED) was developed. Simply put, the TED is a metal grill placed in front of the trawl bag which allows small marine life (the intended catch) such as prawns to enter but blocks the passage of larger animals such as sea turtles. A flap beside the TED allows the animal to escape.
In 2009 the Marine Research Foundation, in conjunction with Conservation International – Philippines, asked Scubazoo to film footage of their demonstration of the use of a TED. Filmed near Kota Kinabalu the following video shows the Turtle Excluder Device working as turtles fly down the trawl net and escape before entering the bag end. Special thanks to Hai Leng Enterprise sdn bhd.
Update: On 4th April the Malaysian Fisheries Department launched a ‘Turtle and Turtle Excluder Device’ workshop in Kuala Terrengganu citing the need for fishermen to install TED’s on their trawlers. Prawn trawlers have been identified as one of the main causes for turtle deaths around the world. Shrimp importing countries such as the USA will only accept shrimp caught by countries which use the TED. Source – Bernama
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