Written by Jen Finn
Two federal agencies — the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration — are seeking to designate Perdido Key and nearby Gulf waters as critical habitat for loggerhead sea turtles.
But Escambia County says additional federal protection for the endangered species is unnecessary.
The county is about to adopt a wildlife lighting ordinance and its own habitat conservation plan that will provide as much or more protection for nesting sea turtles than what the federal government hopes to accomplish, said Tim Day, Escambia's environmental programs manager.
The conservation plan, seven years in the works, covers the beach mouse, four species of nesting sea turtles and piping plover shorebirds. It is expected to be adopted in the fall.
"At the local level, we value those coastal resources enough to develop these regulations so additional oversight is not necessary," Day said.
Under the proposed federal designation, any construction or beach nourishment in the habitat area that requires federal approval would allow for NOAA or Fish & Wildlife consultation to avoid or reduce impacts to the sea turtle and its habitat.
This may be a moot point when it comes to private construction because the county already prohibits all but dune crosswalk construction within the proposed federal habitat designation area, Day said.
Day does not expect the county to receive a response from Fish & Wildlife on its request to be excluded from the habitat designation for some time.
Read the full story at the Pensacola News Journal>>
National Fisherman Live: 3/10/15
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ANCHORAGE, AK – Coastal Villages Region Fund has reached an agreement with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to help fund its fisheries research activities in Western Alaska this summer. The fund will provide up to $92,152 to support the operation of weirs on the Goodnews Bay and Kanektok rivers.
The U.S. Commerce Department announced the appointment of 30 new and returning members to the eight regional fishery management councils that partner with NMFS to manage ocean fish stocks. The new and reappointed council members begin their three-year terms on Aug. 11.
Each year, the Secretary of Commerce appoints approximately one-third of the total 72 appointed members to the eight regional councils. The secretary selects members from nominations submitted by the governors of fishing states, territories and tribal governments.