A juvenile hawksbill turtle died after becoming entangled in a rope attached to an abandoned fish pot in Grand Cayman’s North Sound. The turtle’s body was discovered on Wednesday.
The Department of Environment, which regulates the use of fish pots, stated that the pots are prohibited from being used in marine protected areas and must be licensed and tagged if they are used elsewhere.
“In this case, the fish pot appeared to be both unlicensed and abandoned. It was also found in a marine protected area, which is unlawful,” the DoE said in a statement. The DoE is urging anyone who sees an unlicensed or abandoned fish pot, or an injured or deceased turtle, to contact the department.
Earlier this month, the DoE also issued an appeal regarding the dangers posed to sea turtles from discarded fishing lines, after another juvenile hawksbill got tangled in a line in the North Sound.
In that case, Department of Environment conservation officers were able to respond in time to free the turtle and release it back into the sea in the Rum Point channel.
At the time, DoE Research Officer Janice Blumenthal said entanglement in discarded fishing line is one of the most serious threats to juvenile turtles in Cayman.
Anyone who sees an unlicensed or abandoned fish pot, or an injured or deceased turtle, are urged to contact the DoE on its 24-hour hotline 938-6378.