Magazine article The Small Business Advocate

NOAA Withdraws Proposal Requiring Southeastern Shrimpers to Equip Vessels with Turtle Excluder Devices

Magazine article The Small Business Advocate

NOAA Withdraws Proposal Requiring Southeastern Shrimpers to Equip Vessels with Turtle Excluder Devices

Article excerpt

In November, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced its intent to withdraw a proposed rule that would have required the use of turtle excluder devices (TEDs) by commercial shrimping vessels in the southeast fisheries. The rule would have affected an estimated 6,500 shrimp fishermen. NOAA's regulatory flexibility analysis of the proposed rule estimated that the proposal would have meant a loss of nearly 5 percent of the current shrimp harvest for each affected vessel, in addition to annual and recurring costs associated with acquiring and maintaining multiple devices on each boat. Dr. Roy Crabtree, southeast regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries, stated that the information the agency now has regarding the effectiveness of TEDs in the targeted fishery "suggests the conservation benefit does not justify the burden this rule would place on the industry."

The Office of Advocacy has been engaged on this issue since NOAA proposed its draft rule on May 10. The office's involvement is an effective case study of the Regulatory Flexibility Act in action, and the role Advocacy plays in implementing it.

To alert small businesses and stakeholders to the proposal, a regulatory alert was posted on Advocacy's webpage, and an article appeared on Advocacy's blog. Both items alerted the small business community to the comment deadlines and the need to submit input showing that the proposal stood to have a substantial impact on a significant number of small entities.

As the shrimp fishing industry became aware of the new proposed requirements, they voiced their concerns through Advocacy's regional network. Region VI Advocate Caitlin Cain was the office's "boots on the ground" in southeast Louisiana, working closely with the fishing community to ensure small business concerns with the TED rule resonated back in Washington. …

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