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Virginia Aquarium recovers 7 hooked sea turtles

All of the turtles recovered were the critically endangered Kemp’s ridley turtles. A minor injury, such as a small hook in the mouth, can pose a risk.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center said it has recovered seven hooked sea turtles since the end of April, all of which were the critically endangered Kemp’s ridley turtles.

It's the second year on record that hooked turtles were reported in April, according to the aquarium. In line with recreational fishing season, hooked sea turtle responses typically occur in May and June, but can be seen through September.

A minor injury, such as a small hook in the mouth, can pose a risk to a sea turtle, which is why the aquarium's stranding response team responds.

Credit: Photo: Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

The naming theme for these hooked sea turtles is "cereals," which was voted by the community on the aquarium's social media earlier this year. These turtles were caught on different days at different places:

  • Saturday, April 30 at Oceanview Fishing Pier in Norfolk: Kix and Trix were hooked in the flipper and the hooks were removed. Both turtles are expected to recover and be released.
  • Saturday, April 30 at Buckroe Fishing Pier in Hampton: Special K was hooked in its carapace or shell and the hook was removed. Additional hook fragments are shown in its stomach on radiographs.
  • Monday, May 2 at Virginia Beach Fishing Pier:  Fruit Loops was reported hooked and caught in a fishing line. It didn't have further health concerns and was released the next day.
  • Friday, May 6 at Virginia Beach Fishing Pier: Cocoa Pebbles was hooked in the esophagus and the hook was removed. The turtle is recovering from the hook removal procedure and is expected to be released.
  • Saturday, May 7 at Virginia Beach Fishing Pier: Granola was reported to have swallowed a hook, but no hooks were found externally or on radiographs. The turtle was released on Monday, May 9.
  • Saturday, May 7 at Buckroe Fishing Pier in Hampton: Grape Nuts was hooked in the corner of the mouth. The turtle is expected to be 

    released once recovered from the hook removal procedure.

Anyone who sees a stranded, entangled or hooked turtle is asked to call the stranding response team's 24-hour hotline at 757-385-7575.

Credit: Photo: Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center & Marine Science Center