We were lured to the harbor once again to de-hook one of the Argostolian sea turtles. The small female turtle was spotted with a fishing lure piercing her neck. In the past, we have mainly dealt with single hooks where there is only one barb present per hook. However the hooks attached to this lure were treble hooks, which mean trouble.
Treble hooks, which can be seen in the photo, have three barbs instead of just one. The lure that wounded the turtle on the harbor had three separate treble hooks, two of which punctured the turtle’s neck. Treble hooks can be a bit more difficult to remove because when two barbs steaming off one hook puncture the skin of a turtle you must work carefully to remove each barb one by one, without further disturbing the rest of the barbs that are within the skin of the turtle.
The local fishermen provided the turtle with a skin numbing agent and each treble hook was cautiously removed. Once the hooks were removed the standard measurements were taken. While taking measurements it is important for us to perform a flipper check, where we check each flipper for visible tags or evidence of prior tags (e.g. calluses or holes from previous tags).
This particular turtle had a small hole in her front right flipper adjacent to the first large scale on the posterior edge of the flipper, which was evidence that she has been tagged in the past, but the tag has since come out. Instead of retagging her, we take several photos of her carapace and facial profile photos which will be added to our photo ID catalog and she will now be identified by our team based on her individual markings.