1,000th Sea Turtle Released at Tavares Beach
On Friday, Sept. 22, NOAA Fisheries announced it had released the 1,000th sea turtle (honu) that was rescued and rehabilitated in Hawai‘i at Tavares Beach on Maui’s North Shore.
The adult male green sea turtle was stranded on a Maui beach due to injuries from a fishing line entanglement. The Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute rescued the honu and shipped him to the NOAA Inouye Regional Center in Honolulu. There, a team of veterinarians and researchers examined the turtle and deemed it necessary to amputate its damaged front flipper.
Now that the honu has been returned to Maui and released into the wild, officials with NOAA say fishing gear related injuries and deaths are unfortunately increasing in Hawaiʻi.
The stranding program in Hawai‘i has been responding to injured or dead sea turtles for more than thirty years. The program has collected important information about population threats and impacts while treating injured sea turtles to help support recovery efforts.
NOAA has worked closely with the Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute and other partners to respond to injured or dead turtles on Maui. Officials with NOAA say they hope the Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute will host a sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation center in the future to treat threatened and endangered Hawaiian sea turtles.
NOAA Fisheries would like to remind everyone that sea turtles remain protected under State and Federal laws and life threatening impacts include nearshore hook-and-line fisheries and boat strikes. Additionally, human disturbance can cause stress to foraging or basking turtles.
According to NOAA, there are three primary ways that the public can help to support continued conservation of Hawaiian sea turtles:
1. Respect sea turtles by viewing them — on land and in the water — from a distance of 10 feet.
2. Boaters, post a watch to look for turtles or other protected species to avoid collisions. Drive boats slowly over shallow reef habitats and especially near harbors.
3. Fishermen, It’s OK to Help! Fishing line and trailing gear is the greatest cause of known injury and death to sea turtles. Don’t leave your gear unattended. And if you accidentally catch a turtle — and it’s safe for both you and the turtle — help to prevent deadly entanglement by following these steps:
· REEL-IN the turtle,
· HOLD TURTLE by its shell or flippers,
· CUT LINE as close to the hook as possible, and
· RELEASE with NO LINE ATTACHED.
For more information, click here.
NOAA has a new statewide hotline to report sightings or emergencies for sea turtles, monk seals, dolphins, and whales: 888-256-9840 and email: [email protected]