Environmentalists and animal-lovers celebrated new measures in Albany designed to protect terrapins in Long Island waters and elsewhere in New York State.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation introduced enacted new regulations on Wednesday, World Turtle Day, that now require crab fishermen to add terrapin excluder devices on their commercial traps.

Terrapins are semi-aquatic and live near brackish waters or swampy areas. They need air to breathe.

“Hundreds of terrapins drown each year in crab pots,” said John Turney, a policy advocate with Seatuck Environmental Association in Islip. “They go into get the bait that’s in there … but they can’t work their way back out and ultimately they drown.”

Informational sessions and demonstrations were held at Seatuck’s Scully Estate on Wednesday. Video report above by Greater Bay Shore TV’s Nicholas Esposito.

From the DEC:

A small number of TEDs (provided by The Nature Conservancy and Seatuck) are available to crab pot fishers that have reported blue crab landings within the last two years, on a first-come, first-served basis at no cost. Please contact DEC at 631-444-0429 or Crabbing in NY for more information. To learn where TEDs are required visit DEC’s webpage.