Fisherfolk encouraged on Use of Turtle Excluder Devices (TED)

Local fisherfolk from the villages neighbouring Dhamra port were encouraged on the use of Turtle Excluder Devices (TED) to reduce risk of the Oliver Ridley sea turtle, and other non target by catch species, becoming entangled in their nets.

Fishermen Association, TED Awareness Workshop Photo: IUCN India

Globally, the use of Turtle Excluder Devices (TED) have been found very much effective in reducing the amount of non-target bycatch, specifically sea turtles, in fishing nets. The target design effectiveness of TEDs is 97% (NOAA, 2007). But the field effectiveness is often far lower. The problem is that TEDs reduce the efficiency of the net system, resulting in a loss of some of the catch. Many agencies reported that with the effective use of TED there will be around 3% to 5% loss in catch. The Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) claims that by following their design of TED, the max catch loss is 5%.

The major problem is that the fisher community thinks that with the use of TED, the loss if targeted catch will be more than 30 to 40 % and are not at all convinced to use it during fishing. IUCN India, in collaboration with the Dhamra Port Company Limited (DPCL) and Orissa Forest Department, organized a two day workshop on Fisherman Awareness and Use of TED from 14-15th November, 2010 in Talchua, Bhittarkanika, Orissa. The workshop was intended to demonstrate correct use of TED, answer the questions of the fishermen and ultimately make a case for use of TED by showing the positive results through trials.

The workshop was chaired by Mr. Manoj Mahapatra, DFO (WL), Rajnagar, Orissa. The participants during the workshop were Vipul Sharma (IUCN), Mihir Das (DPCL), Dr. Raghu Prakash (CIFT), Michel Peters (WWF), G D Patra (ACF, Forest Department), Bijay Nayak (President, District Council), representatives from trawlers owners & fishermen associations and fishermen from different fish landing centers.

Dr. Prakash, Sr. scientist, CIFT delivered a lecture on the theories and practices associated with the use of TED. During the presentation, he claimed that by the effective use of TED the maximum catch loss is not more than 5%.

TED trials and demonstrations were conducted on the second day. Two trawlers were fixed with TED and trawling was carried out for an hour. During the pre trials, an average catch loss of 1.5% was encountered.

The workshop was successful in increasing awareness regarding the use of TED and was a positive move towards turtle conservation in Orissa. With this and other such activities it is hoped to encourage the fishermen to take up the use of TED.

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