Feds eye tougher measures to protect sea turtles
NEW ORLEANS - Federal regulators say they're considering new restrictions on Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coast shrimpers because of the damage the industry is causing to threatened and endangered sea turtles.
The regulatory move by the National Marine Fisheries Service signals the next stage in a growing fight between fishermen and environmentalists over sea turtle deaths.
Regulators report that 379 sea turtles were found stranded between the start of the year and June 17 along the Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana coastline. Turtle deaths have been linked to shrimp nets and trawls.
The agency says it will hold five public meetings between now and August to determine if new restrictions on nets and even closing areas to shrimping is warranted.