On September 9, 2021, the Honorable Jane Triche Milazzo, United States District Judge, granted a motion from the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for a preliminary injunction on the federal TED requirements on skimmer vessels 40 feet in length or greater. This order delays implementation of the requirements of TEDs in skimmer vessels 40 feet in length or greater in Louisiana inshore waters until February 1, 2022. More information on the order granting preliminary injunction can be found HERE.
On December 20, 2019, the Final Rule was published requiring skimmer vessels 40 feet in length or greater to have an approved TED installed by April 1, 2021. In March 2021, NOAA delayed implementation of the Rule to August 1, 2021 due to a lack of outreach and availability of TEDs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2021, NOAA released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to require TEDs on all skimmer vessels, regardless of vessel length. LDWF and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission sent a letter of opposition for this proposed rule and further stated opposition for the delayed rule requiring TEDs in skimmer vessels 40 feet in length or greater. The letter stated that evidence did not suggest the need for requiring TEDs in skimmer vessels operating in Louisiana territorial waters and urged NOAA to reverse the delayed TED regulations for larger skimmer vessels or to designate Louisiana waters as an exclusion zone from any TED rules based on bycatch evidence indicating limited interactions with sea turtles.
In August 2021, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office filed suit on behalf of the Department against the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Commerce challenging the Rule mandating TEDs in skimmer vessels 40 feet in length or greater. While the merits of the case have not been fully adjudicated, Judge Milazzo’s order granted temporary relief for the shrimp industry by delaying implementation of the federal requirement of TEDs in skimmer vessels 40 feet in length or greater by six months, until February 1, 2022.
For more information, contact Peyton Cagle (337) 491-2575 or [email protected].