It was a close encounter of the monofilament kind.
Gulf World Marine Institute (GWMI) successfully rehabilitated a sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle which was released at the Bay/Gulf County line last Thursday.
More than 50 attendees gathered to watch Taylor, named for the county in which it was rescued, head back out to sea.
Taylor was found entangled in fishing gear by boaters in Perry.
“The monofilament restricts their flippers and then constricts when they move,” said Stephanie Nagle, an Education Coordinator with GWMI. “If not treated, the line can cut off the turtle’s circulation.”
Not expecting a crowd, Taylor appeared apprehensive about getting back in the water. After some encouragement from Nagle, the turtle headed out on its next adventure.
Taylor was considered a teenager and thus the sex of the turtle was unknown. Loggerheads don’t typically reach maturity until age 30.
Another turtle, an endangered juvenile green sea turtle found stranded on Panama City Beach, was scheduled to be released but hadn’t yet received the “all clear” from the GWMI veterinarian.
The green sea turtle was also found tangled in monofilaments. A release will be rescheduled once the turtle has been medically cleared to return to the water.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, improperly discarded monofilament fishing line can cause problems for marine life and the environment.
Marine mammals, sea turtles, fish and birds become injured from entanglements or ingest the line, often dying as a result.
The FWC started the Monofilament Recovery & Recycling Program now provides recycling bins to more than 40 Florida counties.