July 11, 2014
Federal regulators plan to designate more than 700 miles of beach from North Carolina to Mississippi — including most of Brevard County's shoreline, as well as large swaths of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico — as "critical habitat" for threatened loggerhead sea turtles.
The rule would have little effect on most beachfront property owners or fishermen, federal officials say.
But in some cases, people who look to build or repair certain seawalls will face additional scrutiny from wildlife officials to ensure the walls do not harm critical loggerhead habitat.
And fishermen worry stricter rules will one day result.
"Any designation like that gets you to tune your radar a bit tighter," said Jerry Sansom, executive director of the Organized Fisherman of Florida, which represents several hundred commercial fishermen. "Anytime the feds do new designating, they always seem to want to come behind that and put additional regulations."
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