Featured Image Credit: ncseagrant
By: Sarah Sharkey
Over a dozen sea turtles have been placed in the care of Virginia Aquarium’s Stranding Response team. All of these sea turtles were hooked by a fisherman and are suffering from the same injury.
The interim live animal care coordinator for the stranding program, Erin Bates, said, “A lot of sea turtles, especially when they’re coming into our area, will look for a quick meal and steal some bait off of local fisherman.”
Usually, around this time of year, more sea turtles are hooked than the average. So the aquarium is working with fishermen to help ease the suffering of the turtles. The aquarium is encouraging people to not remove the hook themselves because inexperience may cause more problems than the initial hook.
Instead, they will need to lift the sea turtles up to the pier with a special net that the aquarium placed on the piers. Once on the dock, the turtles can be placed in special holding boxes until the rescue team arrives. The sea turtles will then be brought to the aquarium and have their hooks removed.
According to Bates, recover can take several days or several months. It just depends on the extent of the injury. If you are fishing on a pier and accidentally catch a sea turtle, then you should call the rescue hotline 757-385-7575.
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