On Wednesday, October 16, 2019, Clearwater Marine Aquarium released two endangered sea turtles back into the wild after being treated for hook ingestion and boat strikes.
Flip was accidentally caught by a fisherman in Hudson, FL on September 10, 2019. The fisherman immediately contacted the rescue team at CMA who brought her in for an assessment. Upon arrival, an X-ray revealed Flip had recently ingested a circle hook which was removed, fortunately, without surgery, by our veterinary team. Flip is a female juvenile Kemp’s ridley, which is the most seriously endangered of all sea turtles, making her release critical to the species’ survival.
You can help protect sea turtles while fishing by using circle hooks. Circle hooks are safer and easier to remove than J-hooks. If you do accidentally catch a sea turtle with a fishing hook, please make sure not to cut the line. Keeping the fishing line long will help prevent the sea turtle from ingesting the hook deeper into its body, which would be more complicated to remove. Read more fishing gear tips.
Xavier is a sub-adult green turtle. She was found washed ashore on a beach off the Dunedin Causeway on June 20, 2019, with three boat strike wounds on her carapace, and a wound on her head and flippers. The team at CMA performed routine care to her wounds and after a few months in rehab she was ready to go home!
Remember to always have a marine life spotter while boating to avoid striking air-breathing marine animals like sea turtles, manatees or dolphins. Read more ways to prevent boat strikes.
After a short period recovering at CMA, both Flip and Xavier were cleared for release by FWC and the veterinary staff at CMA. The two sea turtles were successfully released back into the Gulf of Mexico off Fred Howard Park on October 16. We wish them well back in the wild!
All marine turtle footage taken in Florida was obtained with the approval of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) under conditions not harmful to marine turtles. Footage was acquired while conducting authorized conservation activities pursuant to FWC MTP-19-172.