DMR reduces trawling times for shrimp vessel - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

DMR reduces trawling times for shrimp vessel

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Due to reports of unusually high numbers of endangered sea turtle sightings and strandings in Mississippi and as a proactive measure, the executive director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources has ordered the immediate reduction of maximum trawling times for shrimping vessels using skimmer trawls to 30 minutes, effective 12:01 a.m. Sunday, June 20, 2010.

The tow time requirement is measured from the time the cod end of the trawl enters the water until the cod end is removed from the water. The purpose of the tow time reduction from 55 minutes to 30 minutes for skimmer trawls is due to an unusually high number of sea turtles in the Mississippi Sound.

This change is being implemented to increase the survivability of any sea turtles captured in a skimmer trawl. All other shrimping regulations will remain in full force and effect, and waters east of the Biloxi Ship Channel remain closed to shrimping.

The following safe fishing practices can help save sea turtles: Turtles with serious cuts, ingested or deeply embedded hooks need immediate care. In this event, call the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies at 888-SOS-DOLPHIN (888-767-3657) or the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network at (228) 369-3839.

Prevent the event: Try not to cast your line where turtles are seen surfacing to breathe.

If you hook or entangle a turtle:

  • The first and most important thing to do is call the hotlines listed above.
  • Gently bring the turtle close to you and use a dip net to safely and gently scoop the turtle aboard.
  • Do not lift the turtle above water by pulling on the line. The hook will embed even further into the animal and cause more damage.
  • If you are on a pier or close to shore, walk the turtle to the shore slowly.
  • Pick the turtle up by the edges of its shell, not by its flippers or head. Be sure to use gloves when handling any wildlife.
  • Once the turtle is retrieved, cut the line to the turtle, but be sure you do not cut too close to the hook.
  • Try to remove any line that has become entangled around the turtle. For your own safety, be careful to avoid the turtle's mouth and claws.
  • Do not remove the hook unless the turtle is lightly hooked and it can be taken out without further injury. If you are uncertain, do not remove the hook.
  • Keep the animal cool and wet. Try to keep the turtle in a bucket or other container with water.
  • Do not use a towel on top of the turtle.

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