Trawlers and Turtles

Commercial fishing boats around the world provide food from the sea for people. These vessels cruise coastal waters, dragging large nets along the sea bottom to gather in their catch. Trawling or scraping of the sea bottom is very detrimental to sea life in general because it destroys the breeding grounds of fish, shrimp and all marine life. Unfortunately, sea turtles are often caught accidentally in these nets. The great funnel-shaped nets of shrimp trawlers, for example, trap many loggerhead turtles. The turtles are swept along in the nets with the shrimp.

They are not able to come up to the surface to breathe, and they drown. So the small numbers of sea turtles are reduced even further. A way has to be found to solve the problem. Shrimp fishermen along the south-eastern coast of the United States are helping to find an answer. They are testing newly-designed nets that let the shrimp in but keep the turtles out.