Sea turtles put under new protections

Sea turtles put under new protections

Sea turtles have been put under new protections by the Obama administration.

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The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced Tuesday they are updating the status of green sea turtles.

Green sea turtles will be divided into 11 distinct populations, the agencies said. Turtles in three of those regions will be listed as endangered species, while those in the other eight regions will be listed as threatened species.

The agencies first began protecting sea turtles in 1978, but are now revising their status.

As part of the changes, two distinct populations that had been considered endangered — the Florida and Mexican Pacific Coast breeding populations — will now be listed as threatened.

The agencies said they are no longer endangered due to "conservation efforts, including protection of nesting beaches, reduction of bycatch in fisheries, and prohibitions on the direct harvest of sea turtles.” 

The agencies plan to establish a critical habitat for green sea turtles in a future rulemaking, they said.

The new protections go into effect in 30 days.