"Conservation groups served notice on Friday that they would file suit accusing the federal government of failing to protect leatherback sea turtles along the U.S. West Coast as required under the Endangered Species Act.
The three groups said the National Marine Fisheries Service, a U.S. Commerce Department agency, missed a January 5 deadline for designating Pacific habitat critical to the survival of leatherbacks, listed as an endangered species since 1970.
The notice of intent gives the agency 60 days to resolve the situation before a lawsuit is filed in federal court.
Leatherbacks, which can grow to more than 6 feet in length and weigh nearly 200 pounds, are believed to number in the thousands throughout the entire Pacific, with the biggest human threats to them posed by commercial fishing operations."
Alex Dobuzinskis reports for Reuters February 7, 2011.