Saving the Environment with a TED

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What is a Turtle Excluder Device (TED)?

Saving the Environment with a TED

At first glance, patent number 4,739,574 might seem like a strange invention. After all, it's called a Turtle Excluder Device. What would turtles need an invention for? And, why would they need to exclude anything? However, patented in 1988 by Noah J. Saunders of Biloxi, Mississippi, the Turtle Excluder Device has the ability to save sea turtles when they get caught in the nets of shrimp fishermen. Shrimp aren't just popular on the coast; they are eaten everywhere. Catching shrimp is a worthy commercial venture. But many environmentalists try to stop and impede such practices because shrimp fishermen ended up accidentally hurting other sea creatures. Now, U.S. environmental policy requires that Turtle Excluder Devices or TEDs, be used when trawling for shrimp. When effectively used, TEDs are successful at excluding up to 97 percent of sea turtles when they are accidentally caught in large shrimp nets. Shrimp nets extend in a broad arc as shrimp get caught in the neck of the net. A grid of parallel bars allow sea turtles to be caught in the net while shrimp are brought on board. The turtle shell activates a release hatch opening a trap door and allowing the turtle to be released. New improvements to to TEDs include ways to reduce shrimp loss while this occurs. As with most patented inventions, TEDs were initially invented by others before Saunders obtained his own patent for them.



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