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

The American Fisheries Society is honoring recently retired Florida Institute of Oceanography director Bill Hogarth with the Carl R. Sullivan Fishery Conservation Award — one of the nation's premier awards in fisheries science - in recognition of his long career and leadership in preserving some of the world's most threatened species, advocating for environmental protections and leading Florida's scientific response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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The Marine Stewardship Council has appointed Eric Critchlow as the new U.S. Program Director. Critchlow will be based in the MSC US headquarters in Seattle. He is a former vice president of Lusamerica Foods and has over 35 years in the seafood industry.

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