The decision was based on data collected over the summer that questioned the effectiveness of the devices for the inshore trawl fisheries. In June, Sen. Landrieu urged NOAA to reconsider the proposed rule and withhold a final decision until ongoing studies were complete.
“While I support the ultimate objective of protecting and promoting sustainable sea turtle populations, we did not have sufficient data to support the implementation of new regulations that would impose significant costs on many Louisiana small businesses,” Sen. Landrieu said. “Coastal Louisiana is a unique, deltaic environment with muddy water bottoms and shallow estuaries that place different demands on gear than the crystal waters and sandy bottoms of other gulf fisheries. I am encouraged by today’s decision and know that many hard-working shrimping businesses across the state will also welcome this news.”
As stated in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement released earlier this year, National Marine Fisheries is not yet able to provide a definitive explanation for the elevated sea turtle strandings that were recorded in the Northern Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and 2011.
In hopes of providing some answers, the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission sponsored a $300,000 initiative to conduct the first-ever comprehensive stock assessment of Kemp’s ridley sea turtles.
Sen. Landrieu applauds NOAA for recognizing that the conservation benefit does not justify the burden this rule would place on the industry, and she looks forward to working with industry stakeholders and federal regulators to preserve and promote a viable, sustainable gulf fishery.