JONESPORT, Maine — A giant leather-backed turtle was rescued Wednesday morning by a U.S. Coast Guard crew that noticed the creature was entangled in lobster pot rigging a half-mile south of Great Duck Island. The island is in the Gulf of Maine south of Mount Desert Island.
“We were boarding a lobster boat for an inspection and noticed there was some unusual activity on a nearby lobster pot rigging,” said Senior Chief Michael Koch, the officer in charge of the U.S. Coast Guard vessel Moray, an 87-foot patrol boat based in Jonesport. “Our crew was able to switch from an inspection mode to a marine mammal rescue situation.”
Koch estimates that the turtle was 5 feet long and weighed between 300 and 400 pounds.
“We all cheered when we were able to untangle the turtle and see it swim free,” he said. “It was a good feeling.”
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Great Duck Island is in Frenchman Bay. The island is in the Gulf of Maine south of Mount Desert Island.