Date: May 4, 2023
Location: Russell-Fields City Pier (Pier Park Pier), Panama City Beach
Circumstances: accidental hooking
On May 4, Gulf World Marine Institute was told of a loggerhead sea turtle with fishing gear. The Russell-Fields City Pier staff found the fisherman with the turtle, and the Panama City Beach Lifeguards helped to transfer the turtle to the rehabilitation facility. Upon arrival, it became clear that this sea turtle has been in rehab before, with a few different clues. A GWMI volunteer that maintains a photo-ID catalog using pictures taken from the piers was able to match the images to ones taken of “Arrow”, who has been seen multiple years. Additionally, there were healed scars where previously-applied metal tags had been torn out. Finally, a scan with the PIT reader (internal tag) confirmed the ID. “Arrow” had found his/her way back into GWMI’s care once again!
Since Arrow’s first visit with GWMI in 2019, the sea turtle has been seen at the pier many times. Upon rescue, it was found that Arrow had at least 13 hook or hook fragments in or on the body. Many were able to be removed from the flippers and mouth with little stress. There are still internal hooks within the intestines, and these are more difficult to treat. The first step is to feed Arrow cotton balls stuffed into a squid. The cotton balls will hopefully latch onto the hooks, and force them out of the intestines without causing damage. Arrow has an appetite, and so that is a good start!
Thank you to the Russell-Fields City Pier staff and the Panama City Beach Lifeguards for their cooperation in rescuing and transporting Arrow.