Sea turtles are air breathing reptiles found in oceans around the globe, and their populations have been greatly threatened for many years. What is their biggest threat? Some would say it’s loss of habitat for nesting turtles, others would say pollution or the poaching of turtles and their eggs. But many would agree that commercial fisheries are the most serious threat to these long-lived species. Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of sea turtles become fisheries bycatch and that number is increasing as fishing activity expands to accommodate demand.
Fortunately for sea turtles in US waters, fishing regulations are the some of the toughest in the world. When it comes to shrimp, the most popular seafood in the world, US shrimpers are definitely the most sustainable. US shrimp fleets are mandated to use turtle excluder devices also known as TEDs. TEDS allow sea turtles to escape so they don’t drown. Luckily for us and our local turtles, east coast shrimp fleets are the most diligent!
Sea turtle conservation and sustainable fisheries go hand in hand. As such, two of the Aquarium’s longest running conservation programs, the Sea Turtle Care Center™ and Good Catch, work in concert. We support local fishermen by encouraging restaurants to serve local shrimp (and fish) and we encourage you to seek it out. When you support those restaurants or buy from markets or dock that sell local, you are also saving sea turtles. It’s as simple as that.
The South Carolina shrimp season just opened up, and we’re going to do our best to keep you posted on where to get it!