Safeguards Needed Along U.S. West Coast and in Pacific Ocean
SAN FRANCISCO— The Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network (SeaTurtles.org) filed a formal notice of intent to sue the Obama administration today seeking to protect critical habitat for endangered Pacific loggerhead sea turtles along the U.S. West Coast and across the Pacific Ocean. North Pacific loggerheads, which nest in Japan and cross the Pacific to feed along the coasts of Southern California and Mexico, have declined by at least 80 percent over the past decade. Click here to read the 60-day notice.
The lawsuit also calls for habitat protections for loggerheads in Florida, where nesting populations have declined by 40 percent. Click here for previous loggerhead actions and links.
“Loggerheads on both coasts need robust protections from fisheries, oil spills and climate change to reverse their trajectory toward extinction,” said Teri Shore, program director of the Turtle Island Restoration Network (SeaTurtles.org). “While awaiting the protections that they deserve, loggerhead sea turtles continue to die, entangled in nets or hooked on longlines for swordfish and tuna.”
“Loggerhead sea turtles are one of many marine animals migrating for miles to feed off of California,” said Catherine Kilduff, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “If we’re going to save these amazing turtles, we have to save the places where they live.”
Critical habitat protections are an important step toward achieving improved protections for key nesting beaches and migratory and feeding habitat in the ocean. The designation would prohibit federal actions that would destroy or harm sea turtle critical habitat by ensuring that harmful projects are modified to ensure the conservation and recovery of imperiled sea turtles. Endangered species with protected critical habitat are twice as likely to be recovering than those without critical habitat.
On Sept. 22, 2011, North Pacific loggerhead sea turtle populations were uplisted from threatened to endangered status under the Endangered Species Act, but the Obama administration failed to protect the sea turtle’s habitat as required by law. It also failed to protect Atlantic waters for the threatened Northwest Atlantic loggerheads in Florida.
Turtle Island Restoration Network (SeaTurtles.org) is an international marine conservation organization headquartered in California whose 60,000 members and online activists work to protect sea turtles and marine biodiversity in the United States and around the world. For more information, visit www.SeaTurtles.org.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 350,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. www.biologicaldiversity.org.