NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Four conservation groups say they'll sue the National Marine Fisheries Service because it's taking too long to analyze shrimping's effects on threatened and endangered sea turtles.
A letter sent Wednesday began a 60-day settlement period required before suing under the Endangered Species Act.
Fisheries spokeswoman Allison Garrett says the agency doesn't comment about pending or active litigation. She says the analysis is underway.
The Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Sea Turtle Conservancy and Oceana contend that shrimp nets in the Gulf of Mexico and Southeast Atlantic drown more than 53,000 threatened and endangered sea turtles a year.
Clint Guidry, president of the Louisiana Shrimp Association, responded by email, "Two words ... 'NOT GUILTY.'" Some trawls must include turtle escape hatches. Shrimpers say those let shrimp escape.