FRISCO — Federal biologists have proposed protecting hundreds of miles of U.S. shoreline from North Carolina to Mississippi to protect critical nesting habitat for threatened loggerhead sea turtles.
Florida beaches could be especially crucial to the survival of the species, with the most recent science showing that the state harbors one of only two global loggerhead aggregations with more than 10,000 nesting females nesting per year. The other is on Masirah Island, Oman.
The proposed critical habitat areas include 90 nesting beaches in coastal counties located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. The proposed areas incorporate about 740 beach shoreline miles and account for approximately 84 percent of the documented nesting in these six states.
"Identifying this habitat will help us work with coastal communities to protect loggerhead nests and ensure that more hatchlings reach the water and begin their lives at sea," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service southeast regional director Cindy Dohner.
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The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is currently soliciting applicants for open advisory panel seats as well as applications from scientists interested in serving on its Scientific and Statistical Committee.
The North Carolina Fisheries Association (NCFA), a nonprofit trade association representing commercial fishermen, seafood dealers and processors, recently announced a new leadership team. Incorporated in 1952, its administrative office is in Bayboro, N.C.