The Science and Policy Behind Proposed Sea Turtle
Lekelia D. Jenkins
Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke University Marine Laboratory, 135 Duke Marine Lab Road,
Beaufort, NC 28516, USA
In recent months, two major actions have been initiated that may change the landscape of sea turtle
conservation and potentially ignite controversy. The first action involves an October 2001 proposal
by the National Marine Fisheries Service to substantially amend Turtle Excluder Device regula-tions.
The extended public comment period for this proposal concluded on February 15, 2002. In
the other action, two environmental groups jointly filed a petition on January 10, 2002, to list
certain subpopulations of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) as endangered. Both the petition
and the proposal result from public concern and scientific evidence that current conservation mea-sures
are not sufficient to allow recovery of some sea turtle populations, mostly likely loggerhead
and perhaps leatherback and green turtles as well.