March 10, 2010

.Endangered Listing Eyed for US Loggerhead Turtles

BOSTON (AP) -- The federal government on Wednesday recommended an endangered-species listing for the loggerhead turtles in U.S. waters, a decision that could lead to tighter restrictions on fishing and other maritime trades.

The massive, nomadic sea turtles have been listed since 1978 as threatened, a step below endangered, but federal scientists proposed ratcheting up the designation after reviewing the state of the species.

Researchers said primary threats to the loggerheads include injury and death from fishing gear and damage to their nesting areas.

The joint proposal by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is not a final decision. If approved, it puts loggerheads on track for an endangered listing by the summer of 2011. The proposal now enters a public comment period.

Environmental groups who'd been pushing an endangered listing said the proposal was a "turning point" they hope will lead to greater turtle protections...

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