Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Jaclyn Lopez, Center for Biological Diversity, (727) 490-9190, jlopez@biologicaldiversity.org
Amelia Vorpahl, Oceana, (202) 467-1968, avorpahl@oceana.org
Teri Shore, Turtle Island Restoration Network, (707) 934-7081, tshore@tirn.net

Press Release

Settlement Reached to Safeguard Critical Ocean, Beach Habitat for Atlantic, Pacific Loggerhead Sea Turtles

SAN FRANCISCO -

Endangered loggerhead sea turtles won a federal commitment to protect critical nesting-beach and ocean habitat in a legal settlement filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court between conservation groups Center for Biological Diversity, Oceana and Turtle Island Restoration Network and the U.S. government.

By July 1, 2013, the government must identify and propose protection of loggerhead sea turtle feeding, breeding and migratory habitat in ocean waters in the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific oceans and in the Gulf of Mexico. Final critical habitat protection for marine habitat and nesting beaches must be completed by July 1, 2014. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed critical habitat protection for loggerhead nesting beaches along Atlantic and Gulf coasts and will accept public comment until May 24.

Protecting critical habitat for loggerheads is essential for their recovery. Studies show that endangered and threatened species with protected habitat are twice as likely to be recovering as those without.

“Protecting sea turtle nesting habitat will not only help sea turtles but everyone who enjoys clean and healthy beaches along the Gulf Coast,” said Jaclyn Lopez, a Florida-based attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Everyone loves seeing sea turtles, and protecting critical habitat means good management for our shores and a safer future for these incredible animals.”

“Protecting critical habitat is essential for the recovery of endangered and threatened species,” said Amanda Keledjian, a marine scientist at Oceana. “If the federal government truly wants to preserve these species, they must also act to protect the land and waters these turtles depend on to feed and thrive.”

“Long-overdue protections for endangered Pacific loggerheads could make the difference between recovery and extinction,” said Teri Shore, program director at Turtle Island Restoration Network. “These gentle ocean dwellers need safe passage across the ocean and coastal waters where they can feed and breed with as little human interference as possible.”

Protecting critical habitat does not limit public access, but it does increase awareness of important sea turtle areas and requires that federal activities, including any requiring a federal permit, be reviewed before approval to ensure there are no potentially harmful impacts to loggerhead sea turtles’ survival and recovery.  

On March 22 the government proposed to protect more than 739 miles of critical habitat for threatened loggerhead sea turtles on their nesting beaches along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. These sea turtles face serious threats to their long-term survival, including drowning in fishing nets and loss of nesting beaches due to coastal development and rising sea levels. The proposal includes beaches from North Carolina to Mississippi, encompassing 84 percent of all known nesting areas.

Click here for more information about loggerhead populations and to download the petitions.

###

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive. 

Lack of Patent Waiver Would Add Over $70 Billion to Cost of Vaccinating World: Oxfam

Most of that money, said a spokesperson for the group, "will go directly into the pockets" of Big Pharma shareholders.

Jon Queally, staff writer ·


Darnella Frazier Receives Pulitzer Special Citation 'for Courageously Recording the Murder of George Floyd'

"Without Darnella, Derek Chauvin never would have been tried and George Floyd would have been blamed by the state for his own death."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


'We Are Sounding the Alarm': Global Left Warns Right-Wing Fujimori Trying to Steal Election in Peru

"Fujimori’s only way forward to victory is simple: annul tens of thousands of already tallied votes," warned Progressive International. "Powerful forces are organizing to deliver this outcome."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·


'Climate Denial Masquerading as Bipartisanship': Progressives Reject Latest Infrastructure Compromise

"Refusing to act on climate means selling out future generations. The future of our planet and the health of our communities are non-negotiable."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·


Conservationists Applaud Biden Plan to Reverse Trump Attack on Tongass National Forest

"Even if you live thousands of miles from the Tongass National Forest, you still benefit from its unique ability to fight climate change," said Earthjustice.

Julia Conley, staff writer ·