Wednesday, July 10, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: PCCS Contact:
The Marine Animal Entanglement Response team at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies disentangled a large leatherback sea turtle yesterday afternoon in Cape Cod Bay.
Visitors walking along the jetty at the east entrance to the Cape Cod Canal noticed the turtle thrashing in some fishing gear just offshore. They called in the sighting quickly and stayed on the jetty, keeping the turtle in sight until the MAER team arrived. The turtle was released quickly and appeared in good condition.
This is the tenth confirmed sea turtle entanglement case off Massachusetts this season – an unusually high number for July. Only a few of these turtles have been released so far, due mainly to the fact that mariners did not know to report the sightings immediately and to stay with the animal at a safe distance until a response plan has been made.
Leatherback turtles visit Massachusetts waters each summer to feed; they migrate out of the region in late-Fall, heading to breeding and nesting areas in the Caribbean. These are endangered species and poorly understood on their feeding grounds. Entanglement response allows for a unique opportunity to learn more about them while helping the population.
Mariners are urged to keep watch for entangled marine animals and to immediately report sightings to the Marine Animal Entanglement Response Hotline (1-800-900-3622) or the US Coast Guard, then stand by the animal at a safe distance until trained responders arrive.
PCCS disentanglement operations are conducted in partnership with Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under federal permits issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Support for the Marine Animal Response Team also comes from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust and contributions from PCCS members.
The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (PCCS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving coastal and marine ecosystems and promoting the responsible stewardship of our oceans. For more information contact www.coastalstudies.org or www.facebook.com/coastalstudies.