Christie facing decision on protecting diamondback terrapins

Gov. Chris Christie faces a decision on legislation to protect a native New Jersey turtle known for living in salty marshes along the coast and sometimes falling victim to auto traffic during the shore’s busy summer months.

The Democrat-led Legislature in May unanimously sent the Republican Christie the bill that would make it illegal to hunt or harvest diamondback terrapins. A scheduled Senate quorum on Monday, if reached, could trigger action by Christie who could sign, veto or conditionally veto the bill. If he takes no action, the legislation becomes law.

The legislation comes in response to a growing commercial market for terrapin meat, particularly in the Asian food market where their meat is traditionally viewed as a symbol of longevity.

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