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Ruling Delayed in Shrimp Net Dispute

From United Press International

A federal judge declined a request Friday to immediately order Commerce Secretary Robert A. Mosbacher to enforce regulations designed to save endangered turtles from drowning in shrimp nets.

However, U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan said National Wildlife Federation lawyers had made a strong case for such an order and he scheduled another hearing for Thursday to consider more arguments from both sides.

The judge said he would rule on conservationists’ request for an injunction against Mosbacher soon after the hearing. Mosbacher, faced with hundreds of angry shrimpers threatening to renew weekend blockades of Gulf Coast ports, issued a 45-day moratorium Monday on enforcement of federal regulations that require shrimp trawlers to use turtle excluder devices in their nets.

Meanwhile, animal rights groups called Friday for a national boycott of shrimp until the government enforces the excluder rules.

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