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Commercial fishing groups send letter of intent to sue state, federal agencies

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TWC News: Commercial fishing groups send letter of intent to sue state, federal agencies
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CARTERET COUNTY -- Two commercial fishing groups have sent a 60-day letter of intent to sue multiple state and federal agencies under the Endangered Species Act.

The North Carolina Fisheries Association and the Carteret County Fisherman's Association want the regulations they have been subjected to under the ESA to apply to all user groups.

The suit also calls for an in-water stock assessment of the turtles. They believe this will show the sea turtle population is at or near recovery.

Commercial fishermen are hoping the lawsuit will actually unite the commercial and recreational fishing sectors.

"Our hope is that ultimately they will become delisted. That's going to help both user groups. That's what we need is a unified voice, to gather both commercial and recreational saying, 'Hey, something's got to be done here," said Bill Hooper, commercial fisherman.

The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries is one of the agencies named in the lawsuit.
A spokeswomen says they have received the letter of intent and are reviewing it with their legal counsel and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

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