The TEDs Project in Sandakan with fishermen, Department of Fisheries Sabah and the Marine Research Foundation team.
SANDAKAN: The use of the Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) in shrimp trawl fisheries in Sabah can help reduce the loss of endangered sea turtles, preserve our marine environment and subsequently sustain the livelihoods of the local fishing communities and our fisheries.
At a time when turtles are threatened on so many fronts, it's a refreshing relief to have a practical low-cost solution to the problem.
The Sabah TEDs Project is jointly run by the Department of Fisheries Sabah and the Marine Research Foundation (MRF), a non-profit agency based in Kota Kinabalu, with full support from the Department of Fisheries Malaysia. The project is funded by Sime Darby Foundation and Fondation Segr.
MRF Executive Director, Dr Nicolas Pilcher said the project is about introducing a sustainable friendly fishing option that reduced the chances of unwanted large marine animals being accidentally caught in the trawl nets with the use of TED.
The TED is a metal grid frame that fits into shrimp trawl nets, allowing fishermen to continue catching shrimp and fish while excluding large objects such as sea turtles. As an added bonus, they also help exclude trash and debris, saving fishermen's money and sorting time.
The project focuses on providing outreach and trainings to fishers and Fisheries officers in all key fishing districts in Sabah to encourage a smooth transition from regular, traditional methods to a more eco-conscious, conservation-friendly way.
More than 50 local fishermen, crews and net makers participated in a two-day training workshop in Kg. Tinosa, Sandakan earlier this month.
This workshop successfully introduced TEDs to fishermen, demonstrated methods of constructing and installing TEDs, and conducted comparison trials between trawl boats with and without TEDs in the waters off Sandakan.
Real-time videos were also used during the trials to show participants the TEDs performances underwater, as part of the outreach efforts.
Subsequent training was held in Semporna to train and familiarise DOFS district officers in constructing, designing, adjusting, and modifying TEDs.
In addition, the training was essential in developing the necessary skills required to further champion and advocate for TEDs implementation across Sabah.
This was the beginning in the establishment of the Department of Fisheries Sabah ‘TEDs All-Star Team'.
Ms. Liyana Khalid, TED programme coordinator for MRF, indicated that MRF and the Department of Fisheries Sabah will continue to carry out multiple training workshops throughout 2019 at all key fishing districts in Sabah.
“Our vision is that, with effective training and in-depth understanding of the TED initiative, the programme will be beneficial to sea turtle as well as fisheries sustainability, while remaining sensitive to the livelihood of the local fisher communities in Sabah.”