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Shell-shocked: Protecting Turtles From Crab Traps
Abandoned crab traps strewn along the Atlantic coast can snare turtles. Legislation, new technology, and conservationist efforts is now helping to stop the entrapment.

 

Once considered a delicacy, diamondback terrapin turtles (“terrapin” is Algonquin for “edible turtles that live in brackish water”) were almost hunted to extinction. Now they’re facing another threat in the form of ghost crab traps. Pioneering legislation and technology from New Jersey, however, have spawned an initiative among state and local governments, crab trappers, and other individuals to prevent derelict fishing gear from poaching in the brackish water that forms the terrapin's domain along the Atlantic coast.

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