MOREHEAD CITY – Now that the waters have warmed and sea turtles have returned, the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is urging both commercial and recreational fishermen to take steps to avoid interaction with them.
All species of sea turtles found in North Carolina waters are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, and unpermitted interactions with these animals are illegal. This includes interactions that occur with commercial and recreational fishing gears.
For guidelines on how to avoid sea turtles while fishing and what to do if you catch one, go to: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/observer/fishing-guidelines.
Any fisherman that catches a sea turtle should release it unharmed, if possible. If the turtle is injured, lethargic or comatose, immediately call one of the following numbers:
· N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Sea Turtle Stranding Hotline
· N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries
For more information, contact the division’s Protected Resources Section Chief Chris Batsavage at 252-808-8009 or Chris.Batsavage@ncdenr.gov, or Protected Resources Biologist Jacob Boyd at 252-808-8088 or Jacob.Boyd@ncdenr.gov.
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