Evaluation of a New Turtle Excluder Device (TED) Design in the Southern New England and Mid-Atlantic Summer Flounder Trawl Fisheries

  • Program: SNECRI 2008
  • Total Amount Awarded: $127,875
  • Project Duration: Jun 1, 2009 - May 31, 2011
  • Status: Completed.

Project Team:

  • Dr. Joseph DeAlteris (URI)
  • Chris Parkins (URI)
  • Capt. Joel Hovanesian (FV Excalibur)
  • Capt. Jim Ruhle (FV Daranar)

Project Summary:

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) in February 2007 regarding their intent to reduce the mortality of sea turtles that interact with trawl fisheries in the Mid-Atlantic and southern New England regions. NMFS has documented interactions between sea turtles and the summer flounder trawl fishery, the scallop trawl fishery, the whelk trawl fishery, the squid, mackerel, butterfish and scup trawl fisheries, and other trawl fisheries. NMFS has required the use of a Turtle Excluder Device (TED) in the summer flounder trawl fishery in the mid-Atlantic south of Cape Charles, VA during particular times of the year. More recently, on 18 October 2008 Tanya Dobrzynski of NMFS Headquarters made a presentation to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council indicating that the agency is moving forward with plans to require TEDs in all trawl fisheries north of the existing TED line that extends east from Cape Henry, VA. Based on documented interactions in southern New England and the mid-Atlantic, it is likely that the proposed regulations will include the area south of a line extending due east from Cape Cod to the edge of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for a 4-6 month period of each year. The remaining questions for NMFS are the duration of the seasonal TED requirement and the phase-in period.

The project is a collaborative partnership between academia and the fishing industry to evaluate a modified TED design that will conserve sea turtles while potentially minimally affecting the profitability of the fishing industry.  The objective of the study is to determine what effect the use of a modified summer flounder TED design with the larger leatherback turtle opening has on the retention of the targeted catch.  Specifically, the goals are to evaluate the effect of a modified TED design with the large leatherback opening in the summer flounder trawl fishery on:

  1. the catch weight and size distribution of summer flounder,
  2. the catch weight and size distribution of other bycatch species,
  3. the interaction rate with sea turtles, if possible.


presentation given at the November 3, 2011 Research Session.

Final Report 

Science Peer Reviewer Comments