Warning: Sea Turtle Zone
September 6, 2010
Cape Cod Online reports that marine wildlife officials are reminding boaters that they share the water with large sea turtles that can be hard to spot—and easy to hit.
Leatherback turtles are a federally listed endangered species. They can grow to 7 feet long and weigh as much as 2,000 pounds. They are migratory and populate Cape and Islands waters at this time of year eating jellyfish and spending time at the surface. Several have already been hit, some fatally, by vessels in local waters this year. Boaters can avoid sea turtle collisions by proceeding with caution and posting lookouts watching for turtles in areas of relatively high concentration such as Buzzards Bay, Nantucket Sound and Cape Cod Bay.
Marine wildlife officials ask boaters who hit or spot a turtle that has been entangled in fishing line, to call the Massachusetts Sea Turtle Disentanglement Hotline at (800-900-3622). Boaters can also call the NOAA Fisheries Hotline at (866-755-NOAA) or hail the Coast Guard on Channel 16.