Ways we Protect the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

A loggerhead turtle escapes from a trawl net equipped with a turtle excluder device (TED). Image courtesy of NOAA.

A loggerhead turtle escapes from a trawl net equipped with a turtle excluder device (TED). Image courtesy of NOAA.

This is Passport to Texas

Nature ebbs and flows. A good example is the critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle. Conservation groups implemented a recovery plan that facilitated exponential growth of the animal’s population.

The population modelers had predicted that exponential increase in the recovery plan would continue – but it did not. So, the expectations written in the plan are not exactly what the population has done.

Even so, Dr. Donna Shaver says the numbers are moving in the right direction. She oversees sea turtle science and recovery at Padre Island National Seashore. One thing that’s helped them is the mandatory turtle excluder devices used by shrimpers.

Turtle excluder devices were developed to shunt sea turtles out of the next while retaining shrimp in the shrimping net. And they’ve been very effective in doing that.

Seasonal area closures have also benefited the turtles.

Texas Parks and Wildlife instituted one when they revised their shrimp fishery management plan close to 20 years ago – taking into account, of course, the responsibilities to help manage the shrimping industry as well as endangered species.

Tomorrow: hard work pays off for the Kemp’s Ridley.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series, and funds diverse conservation projects throughout Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

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