Understanding Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) and Their Importance in Blue Crab Traps

Safeguarding Sea Life: The Unsung Heroes of Crab Traps

Ever wondered how we can enjoy our favorite pastime of crabbing while ensuring we're not harming other marine creatures? That's where Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) come into play. These nifty tools are like superheroes for sea turtles, ensuring they stay safe while we enjoy our blue crab dinners.

What is a TED?
TEDs are specialized devices made of materials like plastic mesh that are installed in fishing gear, such as blue crab traps, to prevent the accidental capture of sea turtles while allowing targeted species, like blue crabs, to be caught effectively. The design of TEDs includes an escape hatch that enables larger marine animals, such as sea turtles, to exit the trap unharmed.

Why TEDs are Important for Blue Crab Traps:
TEDs are essential for blue crab traps as they help minimize the unintended capture of sea turtles while ensuring the continued viability of blue crab populations. By reducing bycatch, TEDs contribute to the overall health and sustainability of marine ecosystems, maintaining a balance between conservation and fishing activities.

How TEDs Work:
TEDs function by utilizing a combination of plastic mesh to create a barrier within blue crab traps. As blue crabs are directed towards the trap, they pass through the mesh openings unimpeded. In contrast, larger animals like sea turtles encounter the TED and are guided towards the escape hatch, allowing them to exit the trap safely. This design ensures that targeted species are caught while non-target species, including sea turtles, are effectively excluded.

Regulations of TEDs on Blue Crab Traps for Recreational Crabbers:
In various states, regulations govern the use of TEDs in blue crab traps to mitigate the accidental capture of sea turtles. Let's examine the regulations for different states:

  • Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and New York State: Recreational crabbers in these states are required to install TEDs on their blue crab traps. The specified TED size for these states is Height 1 3/4" x Length 4 3/4".

  • Florida and New Jersey State: Similarly, recreational crabbers in Florida and New Jersey State must adhere to TED regulations to protect sea turtles. The specified TED size for these states is Height 2" x Length 6".

Wrap-up:
Next time you head out for a day of crabbing, remember the role TEDs play in keeping our oceans thriving. By following TED regulations and using the right-sized TEDs for our blue crab traps, we're not just crabbing; we're actively contributing to sea turtle conservation efforts. TEDs exemplify the importance of innovative solutions in minimizing bycatch and preserving marine biodiversity in blue crab traps.