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Delaware notified of lawsuit for alleged illegal killing of endangered species

NOAA Fisheries

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network notifies Delaware and two other states it intends to sue alleging the illegal killing of endangered Atlantic Sturgeon.

The intent to sue is a 60-day notice required by federal law before litigation can be filed.

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network alleges Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have not applied for and obtained incidental take permits for commercial fisheries operating within the known habitat of Atlantic Sturgeon - as required by the Endangered Species Act.

According to Delaware Riverkeeper, the sturgeon get caught in nets used by commercial operations as they fish for other species.

And Delaware Riverkeeper’s Maya van Rossum says the results are very harmful to the sturgeon.

"The sturgeon are either immediately dying or they're suffering damage that results in death later or their suffering from impact due to high levels of stress that are impacting their ability to reproduce or survive later," said van Rossum.

Van Rossum hopes lawsuit results in a couple of different results.

"We're seeking for the state to pursue the appropriate reviews and permits, and that review will result in a combination of things limitations on the time, space and manner of the commercial fishing operations in an effort to reduce the impact to the Atlantic surgeon number one and number two it will result in monitoring," said van Rossum.

The hope is monitoring would give a better handle on Atlantic Sturgeon moving forward.

DNREC did not respond to a request for comment on the suit.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.