Feds to lift turtle restrictions on scallop fleet
BOSTON (AP) -- Federal regulators are eliminating certain restrictions that aim to stop scallop fishermen from snaring sea turtles, saying they're unneeded because rule changes and gear modifications are protecting the animals.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it's lifting fishing restrictions the fleet faces in the mid-Atlantic during May through November. The agency says it will instead monitor fishing effort and evaluate gear changes, which appear more effective at protecting turtles.
The booming scallop industry has, for instance, developed a dredge that knocks turtles out of its way before the endangered animals get trapped.
The Fisheries Survival Fund, an industry group, said it appreciates that NOAA recognizes what fishermen have done to protect turtles
NOAA also said its research indicates scallop fishermen are not threatening the endangered Atlantic sturgeon.