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Federal experts to weigh classification of green sea turtles

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 12:35 p.m. HST, Aug 1, 2012

Federal wildlife agencies plan to study whether they should classify Hawaii's green sea turtles as a population distinct from other green sea turtles in the world.

If they find the population is separate, the agencies will then consider whether the turtles known locally by the Hawaiian name honu should be taken off the threatened species list.

The National Marine Fisheries Services said Wednesday a recent petition from the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs prompted the review.

The fisheries service will conduct the review together with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Green sea turtles have received Endangered Species Act protections since 1978.

The last review in 2007 found Hawaii's green sea turtle population has been growing at an annual rate of 5.7 percent for the last three decades.

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