Loggerhead Sea Turtle Listing Divided Into Nine Distinct Population Segments

In 1978, the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) was listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.  On September 16, 2011, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a Final Rule revising the listing for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle from a single threatened species to nine distinct population segments.  In the Final Rule five distinct population segments were listed as endangered and four were listed as threatened.  Jim Lecky, director of protected species at NOAA Fisheries, stated that the "division of loggerhead sea turtles into nine distinct population segments will help us focus more on the individual threats turtles face in different areas."  This assessment was echoed by Cindy Dohner, the Service's southeast regional director, who stated that "[t]oday's listing of separate distinct population segments will help us better assess, monitor, and address threats, and evaluate conservation successes, on a regional scale."   The Final Rule notes that in the future, the Service and NOAA will propose to designate critical habitat for the two distinct population segments occurring within the United States. 

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