New rules to protect turtles from shrimp nets postponed

Louisiana News

Shrimp boats remain tied to the dock Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Port Arthur, Texas, after Hurricane Laura move through the area Thursday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The federal government is postponing new rules designed to keep endangered and threatened sea turtles from drowning in some inshore shrimp nets.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it also is considering whether to expand the rules.

NOAA Fisheries said Tuesday that coronavirus pandemic restrictions limited in-person workshops and training sessions. So instead of starting Thursday, the new rules will take effect Aug. 1.

The rule requires escape hatches for sea turtles on skimmer trawls pulled by boats at least 40 feet long.

NOAA Fisheries says it’s also reconsidering whether to require them on smaller boats and whether unspecified additional rulemaking is warranted.

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