Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Legal Notice of Pending Lawsuit Given to NMFS; NCDMF, NCMFC Given Sixty Days to Respond

Topsail Island, North Carolina, October 20, 2009

The Coastal Fisheries Reform Group supports action taken today to halt the incidental killing and injuring of sea turtles by gill nets.

The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, of Topsail Beach, North Carolina, has given the National Marine Fisheries Service notice that it will pursue legal remedies in Federal Court against the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries and the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission. The notice is a prerequisite to any formal legal proceedings based upon the Endangered Species Act, and pertains to the unlawful take of endangered and threatened sea turtles along the entire North Carolina coast. The notice requests that all “gill nets” be removed from all North Carolina coastal waters. If no remedy is found within sixty days then the Beasley Center can file formal legal proceedings.

The sixty day Notice of Intent was filed with all three agencies today.

THE COASTAL FISHERIES REFORM GROUP fully supports this action in light of the “Collateral Damage” created daily by gill nets in NC coastal waters. Sea turtles are endangered, but the carnage and waste of unwanted fish, waterfowl, mammals, and endangered Sturgeon impacted by destructive and indiscriminate gill nets must come to an end now.

North Carolina has almost three million acres of coastal and joint waters and four thousand miles of coastline. It’s high time that North Carolina joins our other southern coastal states in the removal of the destructive gill nets from all NC Coastal waters. From here to Mexico the only states that still allow this archaic practice of gill netting in coastal waters are North Carolina and Mississippi. We have world class universities within two hour’s drive from our coastal waters, yet up until this point science has been stopped at our coastal water’s edge for political considerations.

See the actual notice at this link......