As part of the efforts to install Turtle Excluder Device (TED) in Indian fishing trawlers that would help conserve sea turtle population and boost the seafood export earnings from the wild caught shrimps, fisheries experts from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and officials from the US State Department conducted a stakeholder workshop on its construction and operation in Kochi.

In 2018, the US Department of State had revoked India’s status as a certified nation for exporting wild-caught shrimp to the US markets for not using TED in the mechanical trawlers in India and the device not meeting NOAA specifications.

Before the ban, the US accounted for 20 per cent of India’s overall exports of wild caught shrimps and its ban is causing a loss of ₹4,500 crore ($550 million). The ban on Indian wild-caught shrimp exports has reduced the unit value realised from $9.87 per kg to $5.68. The US ban and lower prices in other markets had a significant impact on the earnings of fishers and stakeholders in the allied sectors.

Help get certification

NOAA officials gave hands-on training to the stakeholders in the fisheries sector on construction of their own TED and its operation was then demonstrated on commercial trawlers off the Kochi coast. Representatives of fishing boat owners from across coastal States along with nodal officers of the fisheries department from each of the coastal state participated in the field demonstrations.

These trained officers will subsequently educate fishers on the meticulous fabrication of TED in shrimp trawl nets used on board commercial fishing vessels. Implementing TEDs in Indian shrimp trawlers can help obtain US NOAA certification. This would allow the resumption of wild-caught shrimp exports to the US, enhance India’s seafood exports, and improve the livelihood of fishers, a press release issued by Marine Products Exports Development Authority (Mpeda) said.

The selling price of black tiger, white shrimp, flower shrimp, Karikkadi and Poovalan shrimp at landing points have declined by ₹100-200 per kg following the US ban, the press release said.

Mpeda has taken steps to address the issue by assigning the project to Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) which has modified the TED per NOAA specifications and conducted field trials. During December 2023 and January 2024, Mpeda organised three workshops in Veraval, Mumbai, and Vizag, to sensitise the TED performance in Indian water.