Accidentally hook a sea turtle? Here is how to help!
If you accidentally hook a sea turtle while fishing, please follow these simple rules. They are an endangered species, but you will not get in trouble for hooking a sea turtle. To help preserve the species you can help by: Contacting Loggerhead Marinelife Center on our 24 hour hotline 561-603-0211 or FWC at 1-888-404-3922. Gently reel the slack line, keeping the turtle at the surface of the water. DO NOT lift the turtle above the water by pulling the line (this will result in further injury).
Make sure the turtle can lift its head above water to breath, as they do breath air. You can cut the fishing line, but make sure to leave 1 foot of line past the mouth and secure the line to prevent the turtle from swallowing the line. LMC staff will use that excess fishing line to find the hook in the mouth.
Even if the hook can be easily removed, it is good for LMC hospital staff to examine the animal. There could be other reasons the turtle was looking for a “free” meal. There may also be other hooks in the mouth, esophagus, or stomach that can be found on a radiograph. All hooks can them be safely removed.
This sea turtle, which we named Ziggy, was accidentally hooked by a local fisherman. Our rehabilitation staff was able to safely remove the fishing lure, and Ziggy is now resting up and on the road to recovery!