Female loggerhead now back in the ocean
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – Video shot by a group of boaters shows the rescue of a struggling sea turtle entangled in fishing line off the coast of Key Biscayne.
They stumbled upon the female loggerhead by chance on Oct. 15 as they were pulling old fishing line out of the water near Bill Baggs State Park. They then realized that a turtle was attached to the debris.
The struggle to save the trapped, choking reptile loggerhead began almost immediately. They called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and got to work.
“When we hopped in the water to check it out, we realized it was a turtle attached to the line and struggling,” Lucas Rionda, one of the captains, said.
Fellow rescuer Joaquin Cisternas said the helpless turtle was in “obvious distress.”
“It had tons of lines wrapped around its fins, especially around its neck, it was struggling to breathe and it was already near the point of exhaustion,” Cisternas said.
Rionda said once the pair cut the fishing line and freed it from the her neck area, the loggerhead “started breathing again and almost become more lively.”
The crew is acutely aware of the threats sea turtles, a protected species, face here in Florida from things like fishing lines and nets.
Last week, a male loggerhead turtle in the Florida Keys had to be euthanized at a Marathon rescue facility after a visitor to a Layton resort found the reptile in distress with a spear lodged in its head.
But the fate of this rescued loggerhead looks promising after her 11th-hour save. She’s now back in the ocean after being taken in for treatment.
“Saving this one female turtle will be saving hundreds of turtles in the future,” Rionda said.
Rionda and Cisternas said they want to remind the public about the importance of securing debris on vessels.