Tiny seahorse rescued from fishing line entanglement and released into the wild
Frito, the tiny seahorse that was recently rescued by Clearwater Marine Aquarium was released back into the wild on June 14, 2018, after a few days of rehabilitation. The female lined seahorse was found by a family of local residents that were snorkeling off Redington Shores, FL on June 10. The snorkelers discovered a rope tangled in a mess of trash and plastic marine debris, including monofilament fishing line. Trapped in the debris, they found the tiny seahorse with the fishing line wrapped several times around its neck. Dawn McCartney, one of the snorkelers who was at the beach with her two daughters, carefully untied the little seahorse and placed her in a water bottle with ocean water.
The family was familiar with Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which is known for its marine life rescue mission and has a history of seahorse rescues, and called the rescue center to help the seahorse. The CMA Rescue Team picked up the seahorse and brought her back to the marine animal hospital, where she was rehabilitated and monitored in preparation for release.
The Rescue Stories of Frito, Cheeto and Funyun
The tiny seahorse was named Frito, like the curly corn chip, continuing the tradition of snack-sized names that started with Cheeto the lucky seahorse. Cheeto was rescued after being dropped by a seagull and had a close resemblance to the cheesy puff snack with its bright orange color. Just like with Cheeto, a “Frito Cam” webcam was launched to share Frito’s remarkable rescue story and help bring awareness to the issues of plastic marine debris and fishing gear entanglements that increasingly affect marine life. The live webcam and seahorse rescue story were shared by media around the world.
It has been one year since the famous rescue, rehab and release of Cheeto, watched by millions around the globe. Cheeto was followed by the rescue, rehab and release of Funyun the seahorse, who was treated for a buoyancy issue. Frito, our smallest rescue yet, has a rescue story similar to many rescued animals at CMA of being affected by fishing line entanglement. Monofilament fishing line floating in the ocean threatens many different species of marine life including sea turtles, dolphins, stingrays, birds, and even seahorses. Cleaning up monofilament fishing line and disposing of it when back at the dock is a great way to decrease the chances of animal entanglement.
CMA released Frito the seahorse back into the wild on June 14, 2018, in a lush seagrass bed, reached via boat. Dawn and her family were present at Clearwater Marine Aquarium that day to say goodbye to Frito one last time. Fittingly, Frito was released by snorkelers, just as she was rescued by them. Good luck, Frito!