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:
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