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Better BRDs Project: New BRD Testing

Better Bycatch Reduction Devices for the Gulf of Mexico Commercial Shrimp Trawl Fishery

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New BRD Testing

Now Accepting Applications to Test NEW Bycatch Reduction Devices

Louisiana and Texas Sea Grant Programs are working with the Gulf shrimping industry and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to identify and promote new and potentially improved bycatch reduction devices for use in the Gulf of Mexico commercial shrimp trawl fishery. The Better BRD Project is an industry-lead, non-regulatory, volunteer-based effort to find better methods to reduce fish bycatch while also maintaining shrimp retention in the Gulf of Mexico commercial shrimp trawl fishery. For more information about this project, visit the About the Better BRDs Project webpage.

PHASE 1: PILOT TESTING (beginning March 2023)

For initial industry testing, this phase will include real-world trials on commercial vessels to test best placement, ease of use, durability, and industry preferences. There will not be any researcher or observer requirements during this phase of testing. Selected participants will be asked to test new devices in only one net.

Several potential BRDs have been identified for industry testing, and participants have the option to select which device they would like to test.

Application and Compensation:

Louisiana Sea Grant has engaged Lynker Technologies to manage the testing application and contracting processes. All signed agreements will be explained and honored by them. Up to 15 boats across the Gulf of Mexico will be chosen for pilot testing of new bycatch reduction device (BRD) designs for their usability in normal fishery operations. Active federally permitted commercial shrimp boats operating in the Gulf of Mexico are encouraged to Apply Today. Applications will be processed on a rolling basis until the Better BRD project team has received adequate results to move to Phase 2 of testing.

The minimum compensation for participating in the pilot testing is $1,000. Participants will also receive a minimum daily rate while actively testing. Total compensation amount will vary based on project needs and testing activities. Gear will be provided for testing and may be retained by the participant for continued use.

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If you would like to discuss application details or more about the project, please contact us .

Expect to be contacted by our project team within two weeks of submitting your application. Applicants who are not selected for pilot testing will still be eligible for future testing phases associated with this project.


  • once selected, vessel will be added to the project Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP)and/or LOA Letters of Acknowledgement
  • pre-trip dockside meeting and installation of new BRD in a single net
  • data collection during trip (short tow information form and photos of gear/catch)
  • adjustment of gear between tows to test for best configuration
  • post trip data packet mail-in
  • post trip interview

We encourage innovative shrimpers to move or modify test gear for better performance and then report your findings back to us.

Potential Benefits of  Participation:

These designs may have improved shrimp retention and lower rates of bycatch.

They may also work better than existing designs in local fishing conditions or with the bycatch species in your region.

The new BRDs will hopefully be easier to install, maintain, and keep compliant compared to existing devices.

That means you will potentially spend less time dealing with bycatch and therefore have higher profits.

This is an opportunity to work with and provide feedback to researchers who want your suggestions. By participating, you are engaging in industry leadership, your work highlights the innovations that shrimp fishermen have made to maintain a healthy environment while providing healthy food for their families and communities, and your results will help inform other industry members of the pros and cons of each new BRD.

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