Fisheries group brings turtle lawsuit in NC

Fisheries group brings turtle lawsuit in NC

NEW BERN - A group known to sponsor commercial fishermen is bringing a lawsuit against several national and state agencies in regards to sea turtle regulation. They're doing this because they want to increase the sea turtle population without hurting their own livelihoods.

On Thursday, the North Carolina Fisheries Association sent a 60 day notice for the lawsuit. It states that seven agencies, including the NC Department of Marine Fisheries, that regulate sea turtle recovery, are in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

The suit states the agencies failed to regulate recreational fishermen and boating incidents that harm sea turtles. Despite all of this, the lawsuit boils down to one key point according to NC Fisheries Association interim executive director, Jerry Schill.

"Commercial fishermen, right now, are the only group to be negatively effected regarding regulations to protect sea turtles," said Schill. "The part that we're addressing in our letter are recreational fishermen, they have interactions with sea turtles and also boaters. Usually the higher speed boats that collide with turtles and injure them or kill them."

Schill said the lawsuit isn't about money, but making sure regulations are fair towards everyone involved. Some commercial fishermen believe additional regulation will make it too difficult to fish in North Carolina.

NewsChannel12 tried to contact some of the seven agencies at the center of the lawsuit, spokespersons for the agencies said because of the pending litigation they couldn't speak on the lawsuit.

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