Rescue Center Sees Increase in Sea Turtles Caught in Fishing Lines
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND – A sea turtle rescue center is urging fishermen to pick up and throw away fishing lines.
Sea Turtle Inc. is seeing an increase in the endangered species getting tangled. Officials told CHANNEL 5 NEWS just the other day, they rescued three sea turtles trapped in a fishing line.
With the spring season just around the corner, they are urging fishermen to know the dangers of leaving their fishing line behind can have.
Fisherman Harold Kardy says it’s an issue he sees first hand.
“[I] come down here four or five times during the month of February,” he said.
Kardy said he's careful to clean up after his fishing session.
"I will throw even a little peace like that away here or at the waters at home,” he said.
But not everyone is as mindful.
Along the jetties of South Padre Island, CHANNEL 5 NEWS discovered a discarded fishing line on the ground. Experts said these lines are causing trouble for a species already struggling to survive.
“The number of turtles entangled in monofilament fishing line has gone up substantially,” said Sea Turtle Inc. Executive Director Jeff George.
George says most of these cases come from the jetties. He said, right now, there is an area dedicated for people to toss fishing line.
He explained if a sea turtle gets entangled in a monofilament fishing line, it can lead to an amputation or even death.
“A three-flipper turtle has a lot less chance of making it than a four-flipper turtle,” said George.
Kardy says in the meantime, he will continue to be vigilant during his fishing trips.
Harming an endangered species can lead to some serious consequences. In the U.S., sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Harming, killing or even just harassing an animal protected by this act can lead to a hefty fine of several thousand dollars which increases depending on how many times you’ve repeated these offenses.
If you do happen to catch a sea turtle on your line, you are urged to contact Sea Turtle Inc. They will walk you through on how to free the sea turtle. Their number is 956-761-4511.