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Discarded Fishing Gear Nets Vulnerable Green Turtle


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DECC Media release: 19 November 2008

A green turtle caught in fishing line was set free by Port Stephens - Great Lakes Marine Park staff after a rescue effort that was sparked by a call from a local mooring contractor.

Manager of the marine park Max Haste said the turtle had been entangled in fishing gear that had in turn been stuck to the seabed.

"The turtle was floundering on the surface of the water at Soldiers Point when the local mooring contractor noticed it."

"The turtle was exhausted and without the initial concern from the contractor who contacted us and the marvellous effort from our marine park officers the turtle would have died. The turtle was covered in heavy marine growth and it looked as if it had been caught for some time."

Mr Haste said the small turtle was eventually freed when marine park officers were able to cut it from heavy fishing line. "The fishing line was snagged in rocks and the turtle had several wraps of line wrapped around its flipper," he said.

Mr Haste said after the turtle was checked for other injuries it was released and swam away.

"Port Stephens - Great Lakes Marine Park is home to a number of turtle species. Green turtles are listed as vulnerable and I know the marine park officers were thrilled that they were able to help save this animal's life."

Mr Haste said with the onset of summer it was a timely reminder for those planning to do any fishing that discarded fishing gear can have a fatal effect on wildlife.

"It is the responsibility of all fishers to take care when they are fishing and this includes disposing of unwanted fishing gear properly."

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