Two environmental groups say the loggerhead turtles that inhabit the Atlantic coast should be elevated from threatened to endangered.
Environmentalists maintain that tens of thousands of the turtles are killed annually by commercial fishing and because of coastal development.
The loggerhead is already classified as "threatened" under the federal Endangered Species Act. Oceana, a sea life advocacy group, and the Center for Biological Diversity will officially file their request Thursday. The designation would provide the turtle and its habitat increased protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The turtles nest primarily along the Atlantic coast from Florida to the Carolinas but they migrate as far north as New England.