Coast Guard and NOAA Team Up to Save Entangled Sea Turtle

BARBERS POINT- The Coast Guard teamed with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Sunday to save a sea turtle trapped in an abandoned fishing net. The 60-pound, Olive Ridley Turtle was pulled from the waters off Barbers Point and brought back to Honolulu.

The NMFS team brought the turtle to their veterinarian, who treated it for minor injuries. The turtle was tagged and will be released into the ocean later today. In Hawaii, the Olive Ridley Turtle in is listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.

A good Samaritan onboard the Kandie J. spotted the turtle and made the initial report to Sector Honolulu. Sector Honolulu personnel contacted the NMFS, a division of NOAA, who sent a team to rescue the turtle. The team deployed with a Coast Guard small boat crew out of Station Honolulu.

This is not the first time the Coast Guard and NMFS have worked together to help sea turtles; in fact, they have ongoing relationship. To reduce the impact of fisheries on sea turtles, NMFS has implemented sea turtle conservation measures like turtle exclusion devices in trawl fisheries, large circle hooks in longline fisheries, time and area closures for gillnets, and modifications to pound net leaders. The Coast Guard inspects this equipment during fishing vessel boardings and enforces the regulations set by NMFS.

Unfortunately, not all entangled turtles fare as well as this one. Many are not spotted until they wash ashore, where they face a long road to recovery, if they recover at all. This case highlights the impact of human activities on the water and the important role we all play in protecting our living oceans.

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