Alabama
4:56 pm
Mon August 2, 2004

Activists Want to Close Down Fishing Grounds

New Orleans, LA – Watchdog groups are asking a federal judge to close down specific long-line fishing grounds in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Oceana and The Ocean Conservancy say the areas are hot spots where endangered or threatened turtles cross paths with long-line fishermen. The move is connected to a lawsuit filed last month by the two groups. The action seeks to overturn new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rules. The groups say the changes still let fishermen use untested hooks that are potentially dangerous for sea turtles. The lawsuit says the newly approved hook design remains too small and will still result in many unintended turtle catches. Federal regulators say the new circular hooks are a substantial improvement over the old j-shaped hooks.