Status Review of the Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
A 2020 status review for listing of Leatherback sea turtle as endangered species under the Endangered Species Act
In the 5-year review of the Leatherback sea turtle (NMFS and USFWS 2013), the Services recommended conducting a status review to apply the Policy Regarding the Recognition of Distinct Vertebrate Population Segments (DPS) under the ESA. On September 20, 2017, the Blue Water Fishermen’s Association petitioned the Services to identify the Northwest (NW) Atlantic leatherback turtle population as a DPS and to list it as threatened under the ESA. On December 6, 2017, NMFS published a “positive” 90-day finding in the Federal Register (82 FR 57565) and announced that it would commence, jointly with USFWS, a status review of the species, pursuant to ESA section 4(b)(3)(A) and 50 CFR 424.14. The Services convened a Status Review Team to gather and review the best available scientific and commercial data on the species, apply the DPS Policy, and evaluate the extinction risk of any potential DPSs, following the NMFS’ Listing Guidance.