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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Crist tells FWC to ban turtle harvest



Softshellturtle_2 Gov. Charlie Crist wrote to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission today urging his appointees to "move toward a complete ban on the harvesting of our wild turtles."

A rising demand from China has led to a increase in the capture of wild freshwater turtles from the state's lakes, ponds and other waterways, to the point that some biologists are worried that some species are in peril. But the fishermen who harvest the turtles say their livelihood is what's endangered. The FWC held a public hearing on the issue in Tampa today, but so far has not proposed banning turtle harvests.

In his letter, Crist told FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto that if the agency "is not vigilant and does not act swiftly we could be in grave danger of irreparable damage to our turtle population." The last time Crist weighed in on a wildlife issue, he persuaded the FWC to postpone indefinitely taking manatees off the state endangered list.

[Photo of Florida softshell turtle from Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]

--Craig Pittman

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 4:48pm]


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