As you likely know, natural predators aren’t the only threats to sea turtles and marine mammals in the open ocean—many manmade threats, like derelict fishing gear, pollution, and plastics, constantly endanger marine life. Fortunately, a recent encounter between a leatherback sea turtle and a derelict fishing net had a positive ending for the turtle.
Earlier this month, one 800-pound leatherback sea turtle became entangled with a fishing net 30 miles off the New Jersey coast. A recreational fishing boat spotted the struggling sea turtle and immediately notified the U.S. Coast Guard, who dispatched immediately alongside members from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, N. J. Fortunately, crew members were able to set this turtle free.
Leatherback sea turtles are the largest sea turtle species and also one of the largest reptiles in the world. It’s found in tropical to temperate waters worldwide, and primarily inhabits open water habitat. Leatherbacks are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
Incidental capture in fishing gear, whether through bycatch or recreational fisheries, is a major threat to leatherbacks. Oceana campaigns to reduce bycatch for a number of species, including sea turtles, by advocating for more sustainable fishing gear types and fishery closures when warranted. Click here to learn more.
Take a look below for a glimpse of the dramatic rescue:
- CEO Note: Wyss Foundation Paves the Way for Oceana to Rebuild Fisheries in Peru, Canada Posted Wed, October 22, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Seafood Fraud Ring Uncovered in Australia, Fish Species Found to Change Skin Color, and More Posted Fri, October 17, 2014
- Ocean News: Sea Turtle Nesting in Florida Sees Steady Increase, 2014 Could Be Hottest on Record, and More Posted Tue, October 21, 2014
- New Shark Repellent May Keep Sharks from Becoming Bycatch Posted Wed, October 22, 2014
- CEO Note: President Obama Designates Largest Marine Reserve in the World Posted Fri, October 17, 2014