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Friday, September 16, 2011 - 1:39pm

Loggerheads Get New Category

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Friday announced a classification change for loggerhead sea turtles.

The animals are going from being considered ‘threatened’ to ‘endangered.’

Fisheries Service Director Jim Lecky says a device on commercial shrimp boat nets designed to let turtles pass through – known as Turtle Excluder Devices, or TEDs – are actually killing them.

Lecky says they have been working with the fishing community and gear manufacturing companies to get this problem fixed. He also wants to make sure that every fisherman required to use the Turtle Excluder Devices are using them.

Loggerhead turtles migrate into Savannah waters during warmer months where local conservationists track their growth and reproductive trends.

They are protected in some areas under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.