A loggerhead turtle hatchling heads toward the sea. PHOTO COURTESY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.
Ruling will require federal fishery managers to look at cumulative impacts before setting new rules
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal officials will have to go back to the drawing board to consider new long-line fishing regulations that better protect loggerhead sea turtles from longline fishing impacts. Longline fishing catches large numbers of non-target animals, including turtles.
In a big win for environmental groups, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service violated the law when it failed to consider a reasonable range of options to protect the turtles, and when it refused to take a fresh look at the fishery’s impact on sea turtles after last year’s massive Gulf oil spill.
“The court confirmed that NMFS’s decision … violates the law and threatens to push this already declining species closer to the brink,” said Andrea Treece, staff attorney with Earthjustice. “This fishery affects one of the world’s most important loggerhead nesting populations and some of the most critical feeding areas for these turtles. If this iconic species is ever to recover, NMFS must offer them real protection — not trap their feeding grounds with hooks and tangling lines.”
“This court ruling is an important victory because it will require NMFS to examine the cumulative impacts of the oil spill, habitat loss and other sea turtle threats before deciding whether to permit this highly destructive Gulf longline fishery to continue killing so many turtles each and every year,” said David Godfrey, executive director of Florida-based Sea Turtle Conservancy. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, BP Gulf oil spill, endangered species, Environment, federal government, Marine biology, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, Deepwater horizon oil spill, Environment, Gulf of Mexico, Gulf Restoration Network, loggerhead sea turtles, national marine fisheries service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, sea turtles, Summit County News | Leave a Comment »