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Feds, conservationists settle suit, set deadline for leatherback sea turtle protections
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ' Conservation groups and federal fisheries managers have settled a lawsuit seeking to spur the government to finalize its plan for creating a large protection zone for endangered leatherback sea turtles off the U.S. Pacific coast.
The settlement filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court requires the National Marine Fisheries Service to finalize its critical habitat plans for the turtles by Nov. 15.
The Center for Biological Diversity and other groups sued after the service missed a deadline to designate 70,600 square miles off the coast of the western U.S. as a safe zone.
The large turtles have an immense range, swimming from Indonesia, where they lay eggs, to U.S. waters where they feed on jellyfish.
The newly protected areas are meant to protect their migratory routes and food supply.