NEW ORLEANS (WAFB) - The Audubon Nature Institute received one of 18 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Gulf Conservation Grants.
The $52,000 grant will be used to support Audubon's work with the skimmer shrimp fishery of the Northern Gulf, which aims to reduce the number of sea turtles captured by fishing nets drug by shrimp trawlers.
"The focus of this grant complements the excellent work currently being performed by Audubon's Coastal Wildlife Network, which to date has rescued and rehabilitated more than 200 endangered sea turtles from our local waters," said Ron Forman, President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.
The grant from the NFWF's Gulf Conservation Grant Program (GCGP) will help sustain Audubon's sustainable seafood program, G.U.L.F., by extending 'Tow the Time' education. The Tow the Time Campaign focuses on educating fishermen about current time limits for fishing. As it currently stands, tow limits range between 55 minutes from April 1 to October 30 and 75 minutes from November 1 to March 31.
"G.U.L.F. has been working with the skimmer trawl shrimp fishery in the northern Gulf of Mexico for the last several years," said Ashford Rosenberg, G.U.L.F. outreach manager. "Funds from NFWF's Gulf Coast Conservation Program will go toward expanding our work with fishermen by providing them with 'Tow the Time' decals, which serve as visual reminders of current regulations for skimmer trawls that help limit interactions with sea turtles. This grant will also allow us to expand our work with the industry, ensuring we can inform them about current regulations and potential future regulations."
Additional money from the grants will help support industry workshops to educate fishermen on current and proposed regulations, logistics and benefits of turtle excluder devices, and the importance of carrying observers on ships.