Last chance to comment on turtlesFrom the September 8, 2010 Issue
The public can comment on a plan to reclassify some loggerhead sea turtle species as endangered until Sept. 13.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service is considering classifying nine loggerhead populations as separate species under the federal Endangered Species Act, with two as endangered and seven as threatened.
Loggerheads, now considered threatened, are the most common sea turtles that nest on Anna Maria Island beaches.
Manmade threats to the air-breathing animals include disorientation by lights, habitat loss, fishermen and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
From April 20, when the spill began in the Gulf of Mexico, to Aug. 31, 553 sea turtles have been found dead and 520 have been found injured, according to NOAA.
Public comments on the proposal must provide supporting information on ongoing efforts to protect turtles, population status, distribution, migration, behavior, genetic structure or current or planned activities that may adversely impact loggerheads, such as oil drilling.
Submit comments by Sept. 13 at www.regulations.gov (follow the instructions for submitting comments on case number RIN 0648–AY49); by mail to NMFS National Sea Turtle Coordinator, Attn: Loggerhead Proposed Listing Rule, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13657, Silver Spring, MD 20910 or USFWS National Sea Turtle Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 7915 Baymeadows Way, Suite 200, Jacksonville, FL 32256; or by fax to the attention of NMFS National Sea Turtle Coordinator at 301–713–0376 or USFWS National Sea Turtle Coordinator at 904–731–3045. All information provided, including personal information, will be posted online, but anonymous comments are accepted.