An environmental watchdog group is taking legal action against shrimpers in the Gulf of Mexico for what they claim are multiple violations of the federal Endangered Species Act.

Attorneys representing the environmental group Oceana say that as many as 53-thousand endangered sea turtles are killed each year by the operators of the Southeast Shrimp Trawl Fishery off the Louisiana coast.

A scientist with the Ocean group, Amanda Keledijan, explained to the Louisiana Radio Network what they are hoping to achieve by taking legal action.

"What we're really looking for is the government to consider putting in by-catch limits, improve monitoring and strengthen the use and enforcement of turtle excluder devices throughout the fishery."

Turtle excluder devices or T.E.D.s are supposed to be used in shrimp nets when fishing in the Gulf. These devices allow shrimpers to maintain control of their catch but they allow the entrapped sea turtles to escape.The Oceana group maintains that when proper use and enforcement of use is maintained these turtle excluder devices are 97% effective.Keledijan says that only 1% of Southeastern Shrimp Trawl fleet is monitored for use of T.E.D.s.


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