Loggerhead sea turtles remain threatened on East Coast

Posted Sept. 16, 2011, at 4:06 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 16, 2011, at 4:57 p.m.

NEW ORLEANS — U.S. agencies say loggerhead turtles found off the West Coast are in danger of extinction, but those along the East Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico remain threatened rather than endangered.

The National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must now look at both coasts to see if there’s critical habitat where tighter regulation is needed to protect the turtles.

One official says that may be more likely on the East Coast, where loggerheads nest. Those off California are in a group that nests in Japan and mostly migrates to Mexico.

The agencies earlier proposed listing both groups as endangered. They said Friday that new information and analysis suggests the Atlantic population should still be considered threatened — a serious though lesser level of concern.