commercial fishing organizations yesterday filed litigation in U.S.
District Court in Raleigh alleging that several agencies and their
representatives have failed to abide by the Endangered Species Act
in the protection of sea turtles.
fishing groups ask that state and federal agencies be ordered to
implement regulations to manage the incidental take of threatened and
endangered sea turtles by recreational fishermen.
are the North Carolina Fisheries Association, Inc, and the Carteret
County Fisherman's Association, Inc., both non-profit trade
associations of commercial fishermen, seafood dealers, and processors.
listed defendants are Penny Pritzker, Secretary of the U.S. Department
of Commerce; Sally Jewell, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the
Interior; Dr. Kathleen Sullivan, Administrator of the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration; Daniel Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish
& Wildlife Service; John Skvarla, Secretary of the N.C. Department
of Environment & Natural Resources; Dr. Louis Daniel, Executive
Director of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, and Gordon Myers,
Executive Director of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
complaint requests that the court rule that the defendants have
violated and continue to violate Section 9 of the ESA and have allowed
the recreational hook-and-line fishery to "operate in a manner that has
caused and is continuing to cause the illegal take of endangered Kemp's
Ridley sea turtles and the unauthorized take of threatened loggerhead,
green and leatherback sea turtles".
plaintiffs further request that the court order the defendants to
implement regulations in the recreational hook-and-line fishery until
they receive an incidental take permit, and, further, for the federal
agencies to conduct abundance surveys and nesting population
The groups filed a letter of intent to sue in March of this year.
complaint states that the defendants have long realized that the
recreational hook-and -line fishery has been in violation of the ESA,
yet have failed to take any action to prevent the illegal take of sea
turtles in the fishery.
the other hand, commercial fishermen have been required to adhere to a
number of measures in efforts to protect sea turtles, including
regulations on shrimping, large mesh gill nets, and the longline
Click here to read a copy of the lawsuit.