WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last Friday, in a dramatic reversal of course, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its decision not to declare loggerhead sea turtles along the U.S. East and Gulf coasts to be "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act. As a result, these most abundant of all sea turtles will continue to receive protection as a "threatened" species - a lower level of caution consistent with their growing status - without imperiling much needed jobs in America's fishing industry.
The Fisheries Survival Fund (FSF) had strenuously opposed NMFS' proposed rule to uplist the NW Atlantic population of loggerhead turtles to endangered. FSF submitted extensive comments--including a leading scientist's critique of the underlying loggerhead population assessment, legal analysis, and information derived in part from the association-supported sea turtle research--all of which NMFS relied on in reversing course. FSF also credits the efforts of Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) and Walter Jones, Jr. (R-NC) and Senators Scott Brown (R-MA) and David Vitter (R-LA), who exercised their oversight role in this matter. In all 18 Members of Congress requested detailed information and asked pointed questions that enabled the fishing industry to provide informed, and ultimately dispositive, evidence that the uplisting was not justified. Fortunately, NMFS gave the information a full and proper review and came to the correct conclusion, averting the unnecessary loss of jobs and revenue that would have resulted from an erroneous decision.
FSF is committed to the continued sustainable harvest of the Atlantic scallop resource. Scallopers contributed millions of dollars to groundbreaking turtle research through the scallop research set aside funds. This cutting edge research has greatly increased our understanding of loggerhead turtles and their interactions with fishing gear.
SOURCE Fisheries Survival Fund (FSF)