Isle of Man News - POSTED Thu 15-04-2010

Leatherback Turtle Spotted in Manx Waters

by Liz Corlett

Leatherback Turtle Spotted in Manx Waters

A local fisherman has reported a sighting of a Leatherback Sea Turtle, swimming off the east coast of the Island.


Jack Lamont, skipper of the Coral Strand, made the sighting at approximately midday on Monday 12th April.


This new sighting is an important record for the Isle of Man, being one of only 28 reports since 1748.


Moreover, it is the first record of a Leatherback in the British Isles this year.


The Leatherback Sea Turtle is the largest of all the marine turtles and is classified as critically endangered by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).


Found in all ocean basins and as far afield as Alaska and New Zealand, Leatherbacks, which feed on jellyfish and other small, soft-bodied marine creatures, are known to visit UK waters in summer.


The turtle seen by Jack Lamont was over 1m in length and reportedly swimming in an easterly direction, into the tide.


The Fisheries Division of the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture is urging the public to report their sightings of sea turtles, sunfish and crawfish, and anything else of interest.


They are also keen to collect historic records of sea turtles in Manx waters.


"We'd also like to remind people to report any dead whales, dolphins, basking sharks, seals, porpoises and turtles to us so that we can identify cause of death and keep a record of the death, as these are all protected species under Manx law.


"It isn't an offence to accidentally capture one of these species and we do encourage people to report such incidents, as we can often gather additional scientific information from the post-mortem."


For further information or to report sightings as above, contact Fiona Gell or Laura Hanley in the DEFA Fisheries Division on 685857 or 695738.

Reports of Basking Sharks should still be made to, and those of whales and dolphins to

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