Feds agree to deadline for sea turtle safety zone



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 Pacific coast of the U.S.

The settlement filed in Tuesday in U.S. District Court requires the National Marine Fisheries Service to finalize the details of 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 safe zone for the animals.

The large turtles have an immense range, swimming from Indonesia to the U.S. to lay eggs. The newly protected areas are meant to protect their migratory routes and food supply.