Thursday, August 16, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies’ Marine Animal Entanglement Response (PCCS MAER) team freed two entangled leatherback sea turtles in the last two days.
Both turtles were anchored in fishing gear in Cape Cod Bay, with wraps of line around their neck and foreflippers. In both cases the turtles were found by recreational boaters, who quickly reported the sightings to the PCCS MAER hotline and stood by the animal until responders arrived.
On Tuesday, a large female leatherback (approximately 4.5 feet long) was discovered outside Sesuit Harbor. Personnel from PCCS and the Dennis Harbormaster Department responded and released the turtle.
On Wednesday a large male leatherback (five feet long) was found just offshore of south Truro; PCCS and entanglement response trainees from Brazil and Argentina worked to free the turtle.
After release both turtles swam off vigorously.
Leatherback turtles are protected under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) and are one ofÃ‚ the largest living reptiles in the world.Ã‚ Typically, those sighted in Southeastern Massachusetts range in size from four to six feet in length and can weigh from 400 to more 1,200 pounds. In the last five years the PCCS MAER team has rescued more than thirty entangled leatherbacks in the waters off Cape Cod.
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 providing educational activities which promote the responsible stewardship of our oceans. For more information contact www.coastalstudies.org or www.facebook.com/coastalstudies