Biologists detangling 800-pound Oriskany from the lines of a conch pot off of Montauk. Photo courtesy of The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation.
By Mara Certic
An 800-pound leatherback turtle got tangled in the lines of a conch pot off of Montauk on Sunday, June 29.
The U.S. Coast Guard called in the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research on Sunday when the huge turtle was found entangled in the lines marked by red buoys. No one had claimed responsibility as being owner of the pot as of Wednesday, July 2.
Biologists from the Riverhead foundation packed up their disentanglement gear and traveled the 40-some miles out to Montauk, where a Coast Guard boat took them out to the struggling reptile.
Leatherback turtles are the largest species of turtle in existence today, and the fourth largest reptile. They survive predominately on a diet of jellyfish and have been reported to live up to at least 30 years.
Upon reaching him, biologists quickly managed to free the turtle, which dove underwater and swam away. The members of the Coast Guard who helped with this lifesaving operation decided to name the turtle “Oriskany” after a U.S. aircraft carrier that was sunk eight years ago and now acts as an artificial reef.
The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research reminds the public to call their 24-hour hotline to report sightings at (631) 369-9829.