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Strict New Biden Rule Putting Major Stress on Louisiana’s Shrimpers

The Louisiana Shrimp Association (LSA) announced on Wednesday that a shrimper interest group is suing the Biden administration over a costly new rule that threatens the livelihoods of many Louisiana fishermen.

The LSA, in collaboration with the conservative Pelican Institute, petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to reconsider its mandate that skimmer trawl vessels exceeding 40 feet in length be equipped with Turtle Excluder Devices (TED).

The purpose of these devices is to assist sea turtles in evading shrimper nets.

The lawsuit contends that the update to the vessels used by shrimpers that is mandated by the new rule is superfluous and prohibitively expensive.

In 2019, the NMFS issued the definitive rule mandating TEDs; however, the rule’s implementation was repeatedly delayed. Initial postponement of the regulation until April 1, 2021, allowed local shrimping businesses sufficient time to procure and install the TEDs onto shrimp vessels.

Following the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the regulation was once more postponed until August 1, 2021, in order to accommodate constraints on travel and business.

According to an economic analysis conducted by the NMFS prior to the implementation of the rule, many vessels are and have been operating under poor financial conditions, and shrimpers operate with slim profit margins.

The lawsuit claims that a significant proportion of the part-time vessels might cease operations following the implementation of the expensive new regulation, as determined by the analysis.

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