Rescue crews free entangled 800-pound turtle

(Photo credit: United States Coast Guard/DVIDS)
(Photo credit: United States Coast Guard/DVIDS)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Rescuers came to the aid of a large leatherback turtle entangled in fishing gear off the southern New Jersey coast.

Someone aboard a recreational fishing boat spotted the 800-pound turtle Saturday, notified the Coast Guard and provided it with GPS coordinates for the turtle’s location.

A boat crew from Coast Guard Station Atlantic City took a representative from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine to a response boat operated by a crew from the Coast Guard’s Cape May station. That boat soon located the entangled turtle.

Rescuers reached down into the water and used their hands to untangle the fishing gear and free the turtle, which swam off.

Leatherbacks are among the largest reptiles in the world. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says incidental capture in fishing gear is a primary threat to them.

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