Turtle excluder devices

Turtle excluder devices (TEDs) modify trawl nets to allow larger animals to escape, including:

  • sea turtles
  • stingrays
  • sharks
  • sponges.

Under the Fisheries (Commercial Fisheries) Regulation 2019 in the east coast trawl fishery, all otter trawl nets and some beam trawl nets must have an approved TED installed.

Technical information guide

The technical information guide and  standardised design specifications ensure TEDs are:

  • made to a consistent standard
  • fitted correctly to trawl nets used throughout the Queensland east coast trawl fishery

Grid design

TEDs consist of either a metal or plastic grid with vertical bars running from the top to the bottom of the frame (much like a stormwater drain grate). The grid is then installed in a tube of mesh netting.

Grids are installed in the netting at an angle of 30–55°. This creates a physical barrier that lets prawns and other animals smaller than the bar spacing pass through the TED and into the codend.

Sea turtles, other large animals and debris slide along the grid to an exit hole cut in the top or bottom of the surrounding mesh. The exit hole may be partially covered by a flap of webbing to reduce the possibility of losing prawns.

TEDs are usually fitted into a trawl net at the beginning of the codend.

At this point in the net, water flow is fastest and maximises the ability of a TED to separate target animals from non-target animals. Fishers can use an accelerator funnel with their TEDs and also use TED flaps to prevent loss of catch. A poorly constructed or maintained TED may cause major losses in prawn catch.

Accelerator funnel specifications

Mesh size of funnel:

  • 38–50mm

Leading edge of the funnel to the net:

  • At least 18 meshes in front of grid
  • trailing edge does not extend past grid.

Minimum funnel circumference per meshes:

  • 38–42mm mesh – 100 meshes
  • 43–47mm mesh – 83 meshes
  • 48–49mm mesh – 93 meshes
  • 50mm mesh – 100 meshes.

Trailing edge to grid bars:

  • Top shooter TEDs – bottom one third of funnel circumference may be attached to grid bars
  • Bottom shooter TEDs – top one third of funnel circumference may be attached to grid bars.