Endangered Sea Turtle Hooked and Rescued at Juno Beach Fishing Pier

ImageA sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle was rescued Saturday evening at the Juno Beach Fishing Pier due to the responsible actions of a local family and friends. When Aaron Pederson noticed he had accidentally hooked a sea turtle, the group knew exactly what to do, thanks to the instructional signage posted on the pier. This signage is part of Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s (LMC) Responsible Pier Initiative, which includes rescue nets on the pier as part of the new conservation program.

When LMC veterinarian, Dr. Charles Manire and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Lt. Atwell Pride arrived at the pier, they were happy to see the turtle lying safely on the pier deck. The turtle was then transported to the center’s on-site hospital and evaluated. Two fishing hooks were removed from the turtle’s esophagus and stomach. The turtle was affectionately named “Pederson,” after the family who contacted the proper authorities and safely rescued the sea turtle following the fishing incident. Pederson is currently rehabilitating at Loggerhead Marinelife Center and will remain there until the turtle is healthy enough for release back into the ocean.

Juno Beach Fishing Pier is the first in the state of Florida to adopt LMC’s Responsible Pier Initiative, along with Lake Worth and Dania Beach Fishing Piers.

The Responsible Pier Initiative consists of three components.

  • Cleaning beneath the pier and surrounding areas on a regular basis
  • Hosting annual sea turtle rescue educational workshops for first responders
  • Displaying sea turtle rescue signage and nets on the pier

“We identified local fishing piers as an area in dire need of ocean conservation and sea turtle awareness education,” said Tommy Cutt, LMC Chief Conservation Officer. Cutt explained that many times fishermen will accidently hook a sea turtle and cut off the fishing line. “It’s so wonderful to see the fishing community and public following the proper protocol. By contacting the proper authorities, they helped save a sea turtle’s life. It’s extremely rewarding,” he added.

This rescue story emphasizes the need for ocean conservation and sea turtle awareness education, specifically around fishing piers. Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s main goal for the Responsible Pier Initiative is to bring the world-class ocean conservation education and program to all of the piers in the state of Florida. If you’re interested in bringing the Responsible Pier Initiative to your local pier or area, please contact Tommy Cutt, LMC Chief Conservation Officer at tcutt@marinelife.org or 561-627-8280 ext. 116.