Emergency Rule Protects Sea Turtles

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has issued an emergency rule to reduce bycatch and mortality of threatened loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles. The rule went into effect on July 11 and will be in place through January 9, 2002. The rule closes an area to commercial longliners and requires them to modify their gear. But the emergency rule also requires all U.S. commercial and recreational fishermen who have been issued Highly Migratory Species fishing permits to post sea turtle handling and release guidelines in the wheelhouse. For more information, visit www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hmspg.html.