Mote Marine Laboratory announced today that two sea turtles have been returned to the Gulf of Mexico on Casey Key after recovering at Mote's Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital.
The first turtle to be released was a juvenile green sea turtle juvenile nicknamed "Hookee," who was accidentally caught by a fisherman on June 20 in Englewood. After the fisherman called Mote to report the incident, Hookee was transported to Mote's Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital and underwent surgery to remove the fisherman's hook from its esophagus. Mote staff cared for Hookee for 18 days before releasing the turtle this week.
Joyce, an adult female loggerhead sea turtle, was also released this week. Originally reported swimming erratically by a member of the public, Joyce had been recovering at Mote's hospital since March 27. It took several months for her to begin foraging for food on her own and become less buoyant.
Mote urges anyone who sees a distressed or deceased sea turtle, manatee, dolphin or whale in Sarasota or Manatee counties to call trained responders immediately. Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program is open 24 hours via its hotline at (941) 988-0212.