CAPE MAY — Federal fishing regulators may require more commercial fishermen to assist with a program that seeks to protect sea turtles.

The National Marine Fisheries Service requires observers to be placed on fishing boats in some fisheries to collect data that help with minimization of harm to turtles. The service says it wants to include a group of mid-Atlantic fisheries to the program next year because of the need to collect more data about accidental catch of sea turtles.

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The service wants to include mid-Atlantic fisheries that fish with gill nets. That includes fishermen of commercially significant species including monkfish, mackerel, dogfish and coastal sharks.

The fisheries service says it will pay the direct costs for vessels to carry the observers. It’s collecting comments about the proposal until Nov. 20.

— Associated Press

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