Turtle trouble

Federal government criticized for “relaxing” longline fishery rules

Photo By Mike Gonzalez

A conservation group filed a lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service for changes to fishery rules that could endanger loggerhead turtles.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed the suit, which claims that the service’s changes in longline swordfish-industry rules will allow the fleet to catch almost three times as many loggerhead turtles (pictured) than was previously allowed. The change comes a few months after federal scientists declared that the turtle is at risk of extinction.

Loggerhead turtles get snagged on hooks and dragged behind massive commercial fishing boats, according to the CBD. More than 200,000 of the creatures and 50,000 leatherback sea turtles are caught each year.