UNO gets grant to improve turtle excluder devices

AP file photo -- A hybrid Green Hawksbill sea turtle swims in the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans. Show caption
AP file photo -- A hybrid Green Hawksbill sea turtle swims in the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The University of New Orleans has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to improve a device used on shrimp boats to protect sea turtles.

UNO researchers will use the funds to enhance the design, test and implement the device which helps a captured sea turtle escape when caught in a fishing net.

New Orleans CityBusiness (http://bit.ly/1hN0BBj ) reports the Nekton Research Laboratory at UNO is spearheading the project. Once the changes are in place, UNO students will lead the outreach effort to train fishermen on how to construct, install and operate the devices.

UNO is collaborating with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, Coastal Communities Consulting, the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy and the Louisiana shrimp industry on the project.