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What We (NOAA) Do

smiling whelk...from game to reality.

 “Quest to Nest” is a collection of games in which you play roles of different characters.
Find out about how people at NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) help the loggerhead turtles’ population.

In the U.S., two federal agencies, and a number of state agencies, have developed regulations to eliminate or reduce threats to sea turtles.  NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) leads the effort in the marine environment and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) leads on the nesting beaches.

In the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, NMFS has required measures (e.g., gear modifications, changes to fishing practices, and time/area closures) to reduce sea turtle bycatch in pelagic longline, mid-Atlantic gillnet, Chesapeake Bay pound net, and southeast shrimp and flounder trawl fisheries.

NMFS has worked closely with the shrimp trawl fishing industry to develop turtle excluder devices (TEDs) to reduce the number injuries and deaths of sea turtles that may be captured in shrimp trawl gear. TEDs that are large enough to exclude even the largest sea turtles are now required in shrimp trawl nets.

Since 1989, the U.S. has prohibited the importation of shrimp harvested in ways that harm sea turtles. The import ban does not apply to nations that have adopted sea turtle protection programs comparable to that of the U.S. (e.g., require and enforce the use of TEDs) or to nations where incidental capture in shrimp fisheries does not present a threat to sea turtles (e.g., nations that fish for shrimp in areas where sea turtles do not occur). The U.S. Department of State (DOS) is the principal agency that carries out this law, and NMFS serves as a technical advisor. NMFS has provided extensive TED training throughout the world.

In 2003, NMFS developed the Strategy for Sea Turtle Conservation and Recovery in Relation to Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Fisheries (Strategy) to evaluate and address domestic sea turtle bycatch in state and Federal areas and in commercial and recreational fisheries of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.
NMFS is currently involved in cooperative gear research projects designed to reduce sea turtle bycatch in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic pelagic longline fisheries, the Hawaii-based deep set longline fishery, the Atlantic sea scallop dredge fishery, the Chesapeake Bay pound net fishery, and non-shrimp trawl fisheries in the Atlantic and Gulf.

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