Better Bycatch Reduction Program
Louisiana and Texas Sea Grant programs are working with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to identify and promote certified bycatch reduction devices (BRDs –“bird”) for use in the shrimp trawl industry. Current regulations state that each net must have one compliant BRD while fishing within the Gulf of Mexico EEZ.
A BRD is any device or modification that lets finfish escape during tow or before catch is brought onboard. Ideally, it allows for the most fish to escape with minimal loss in shrimp. A BRD must decrease bycatch by at least 30% weight for NOAA to certify its use. This is validated through rigorous testing. Sometimes, this means two types of modifications or devices must be used together to reach the minimum reduction amount. Currently, there are five certified BRDs for use in the Gulf of Mexico .
The Sea Grant offices will work with industry members during outreach and dockside programs to gauge current BRD usage, get ideas for new BRD technologies, and assist shrimpers with current and future BRD usage throughout the Gulf of Mexico. “