Humane Society of the United States
For Immediate Release
April 7, 1997
For More Information
Colleen Demondy: 301.258.3072
Jen Smith: 301.258.3071
The Humane Society of the U.S. Exposes Texas Shrimp Fishers' Violations of Federal Regulations Protecting Endangered Sea Turtles
Houston - The Human Society of the United States (HSUS), the nation's largest animal protection organization, today released an extensive investigative report and video documentary. Researched in cooperation with the Sea Turtle Restoration Project of Earth Island Institute, the report revealed apparent violations of federal regulations by Texas shrimp fishers regarding endangered and threatened sea turtles. The HSUS document details the investigation of more than 60 miles of Texas coastline and five ports, including two in Corpus Christi, one in Galveston, and one in Aransas Pass, and one in Sabine.
The HSUS also unveiled a three and a half minute videotape documenting violations of federal regulations meant to protect the sea turtles. During one period of the five-month investigation, and HSUS investigator spent two days on a shrimp vessel openly diabled the federally mandated Turtle Excluder Device (TED), and escape hatch that enables turtles to swim out of shrimp nets. Since 1991, Gulf shrimp trawlers have been required by federal law to use TEDs to protect sea turtles. All species of sea turtles occuring in U.S. waters are listed as endangered or threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
"Of the 32 vessels our investigator examined, 13 had their TEDs tied shut. That's 41% of boat owners in flagrant violation of the law. Such blatant disregard for the use of the turtle protecing devices suggests to us that enforcement procedures are not effective and that the shrimpers ignore the regulations without fear of prosectution," said Dr. John W. Grandy, Vice President of Wildlife and Habitat Protection for the HSUS.
For a copy of the Endangered Sea Turtles Undercover Report contact HSUS