Turtle protection device plans shelved by NOAA

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Federal officials are scrapping a proposed rule that would have forced shrimpers to install devices on their nets to save endangered sea turtles.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Tuesday that it is withdrawing plans to require "turtle excluder devices" for small fishing operations that trawl for shrimp in state waters.

NOAA says data collected over the summer showed the devices may not keep small turtles from being caught in nets.

The rule had been set to take effect by the spring. Gulf of Mexico shrimpers had said the requirement could push them out of business. The change would have affected 2,600 fishermen, mostly in Louisiana.

Roy Crabtree, southeast regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries, says federal officials will continue their research about how to help prevent turtle catches.

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