NOAA almost done collecting info abt leatherback

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The federal government is almost done collecting information about a decision that could change the conservation status of the world's largest turtle.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has received a petition from a fishing group asking that the Northwest Atlantic Ocean's leatherback sea turtles be listed as "threatened," but not endangered, under the Endangered Species Act. The agency is scheduled to complete collecting information and comments about the subject on Monday.

Leatherbacks can weigh 2,000 pounds and live all over the world's oceans. They have been listed as endangered by the U.S. for more than four decades.

NOAA is expected to make a decision about the turtles later this year. Fishermen say better information about the turtle's population is needed because rules about its conservation impact commercial fishing.

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