Wednesday July 19, 2023


Today, NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposal to designate new areas of critical habitat to protect threatened and endangered green sea turtles. The agencies share jurisdiction for sea turtles, with the Fish and Wildlife Service overseeing their protection and recovery on nesting beaches and NOAA Fisheries providing oversight in the marine environment.

The Fish and Wildlife Service proposes designating 8,870 acres (approximately 35,896 square kilometers) of critical habitat on land where green sea turtles bask, nest, incubate, hatch and travel to the sea. NOAA Fisheries proposes to designate marine critical habitat from mean high water to 20 meters depth to protect access to nesting beaches, migratory corridors and important feeding and resting areas; it also includes Sargassum habitat in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.

“Green sea turtles continue to face threats in the marine environment, including human interactions like bycatch and marine debris, as well as habitat loss and the ongoing impacts of climate change,” said NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Janet Coit. “These new critical habitat proposals will aid in our joint mission to protect and recover endangered and threatened green sea turtles.”

“Designating critical habitat for green sea turtles will help us effectively carry out our mission of protecting and recovering the species,” said Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz. “Endangered Species Act protections are benefiting the species by raising awareness about its threats, inspiring diverse partnerships on its behalf, and now helping conserve habitat critical to its conservation and recovery.”

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