National Fisherman

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>>

Inside the Industry

NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.

The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.


Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.

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