According the Miami Herald,a 217-pound loggerhead sea turtle was rescued off the Florida Panhandle, where rescuers realized that the massive turtle was carrying a ton of fishing debris.
We’re talking about fishing rods, hooks, tons of fishing line, and weights.
The sea turtle was discovered yesterday, after she was “foul hooked” by a few fishermen, and was reported by the Okaloosa Island Pier near Fort Walton Beach, which is about 165 miles west of Tallahassee.
The pier said via Facebook post:
“She had two rods and lots fishing line and even a portion of a tire trailing behind her.
We cannot be thankful enough for our staff and a few local anglers for stepping up to rescue this big gal! Our staff had to go swimming with the Gulfarium (CARE CENTER) stranding team to get her in!”
The stranding coordinator for the center, Tabitha Siegfried, said the fishing gear was wrapped around her right front flipper.
It was also revealed that there were 10 or more fishing hooks inside the knot, but only one had penetrated the skin. It has since been removed from surgery.
It’s believed that the fishing gear had been attached to the turtle for a few weeks, and if the loggerhead hadn’t been discovered in time, the lines could’ve tightened further and caused the fin to fall off.
Siegfried admitted that this is a perfect example as to why you should never cut your line if it gets tangled with a sea turtle.
Adult loggerheads can weigh as much as 350 pounds, and live to 70+ years. They are typically sexually mature around the ages of 25-30.
“It’s nesting season… what can you do? Leave No trace. Fill holes and take your trash with you! Use red and amber flashlights on the beach at night!
Fishing? Reel up! Accidentally hook turtle? DO NOT CUT THE LINE! On the pier, let our staff know immediately and call FWC! Work slowly towards the beach until the stranding team arrives.
Follow our staffs instructions! Clear the rail and give them room to work. The future generations of this species needs our help.”