Fishermen learn to avoid turtle capture
photos: Gustavo Aquino
A team of technicians was in Guaratuba to spread the word among fishermen in the city about the use of the TED, a device that prevents the involuntary capture of turtles in shrimp trawling. The meeting was organized by the Association of Fishermen and Shipowners of Guaratuba and Region (Apagre), with support from the Municipal Secretariat of Fisheries and Agriculture, and the venue chosen was the workshop of Luiz Carlos Santana, Chinho Redeiro.
Since 1997, the TED (Turtle Excluder Device – turtle escape device, in Portuguese) is mandatory for shrimp boats over 11 meters in length. However, it is rarely used. Fishermen complain that TED harms fishing because it lets out too much shrimp.
According to the technicians, correct use can avoid damage. To explain how to set up and install the mechanism properly, a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) project called Sustainable Management of Fauna Accompanying Trawl Fisheries in Latin America and the Caribbean (Rebyc II – LAC) is touring fishing communities .
The work also includes a survey on the effectiveness of TED and its impact on shrimp fishing. The intention is to protect biodiversity and also benefit fishing income by reducing unwanted catches.
As part of the project, biologist Derien Vernetti Duarte, from Cepsul/ICMBio (National Center for Research and Conservation of Marine Biodiversity of the Southeast and South), has already been teaching the techniques on the coast of São Paulo, where TED has become widely used due to the effective inspection of environmental agencies.
How to make a TED
On the last, on the 5th, Derien Duarte, accompanied by oceanographer Isabeli Mesquita (from Rebyc) and oceanography student from the Sea Studies Center Guilherme Coqueiro were in Guaratuba with fishermen, the president of Apagre, Wallace Aguiar, technicians who support the fishermen in Guaratuba, such as the director of the Municipal Fisheries and Agriculture Secretariat Nilton Feltz, the fishing engineer of Emater Rodrigo Aguiar and the director of the Worker's Agency, Adelar Feijó, as well as Chinho Redeiro and the professionals who work with him.
During the conversation, fishermen stated that it is rare to catch a turtle on the coast of Guaratuba, but they learned from Derien Duarte's explanations that even when they are caught alive and “resurrected” from drowning, they hardly survive. The biological explained that the sudden rise of a turtle pulled in the net ends up causing pulmonary embolism in the animal. Even returned to the sea alive, as research has shown, they often die right away.
After a few hours, the participants were able to follow and help to build a TED within the technical specifications.
What it is – The TED consists of a metal grid inserted into a tunnel in the shrimp trawl, which allows shrimp to pass through, but which bars larger animals such as turtles, rais and sharks. These animals are excluded from the net by a kind of “window” that is made at the top of the net.
Its use became mandatory in 1994 for pink shrimp trawling and in 1997 for all shrimp trawling vessels over 11 meters. The requirement is contained in Ibama Ordinance No. 05, of February 19, 1997, which also establishes the technical specifications of the device, such as 30º to 55º grid inclination, maximum spacing between grid bars of up to 10 cm and minimum opening exhaust in the 70 cm net.
The Normative Instruction of the Ministry of the Environment nº 31, of December 13, 2004, updates the regulation of the use of TED. Shrimp caught using the TED can be traded in the US market with the Turtle Safe certificate.