Gulf oil spill: Court says federal agency didn't protect loggerhead sea turtles

TALLAHASSEE — A U.S. District Court has ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service violated the law when it failed to adequately protect loggerhead sea turtles after last year's massive Gulf oil spill.

The court's ruling Tuesday noted that the federal agency admitted that the oil spill was an unprecedented event that resulted in adverse effects on sea turtles. The court also found that the federal agency failed to take a hard look at following a rule to protect loggerhead sea turtles in part of their Gulf residence area.

The conservation groups that filed the suit had previously sued the fisheries service to protect the threatened loggerhead turtle from long line fishing, a dangerous fishing practice that catches large numbers of non-target animals that cannot escape the bottom long line hooks.

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