News On Japan

Rare sea turtle caught in Japanese fishing net

SAPPORO, Oct 19 (News On Japan) - A very rare sea turtle was caught in a salmon net by a Japanese fisherman before being released back into the waters of northern Hokkaido.

This giant creature has been identified as a "Leatherback Turtle", which is listed as an endangered species. In the past, there are records of Leatherback Turtle with a body length of 256 cm and a weight of 916 kg.

The fisherman exclaimed, "I was surprised. It was probably about 130 to 140 cm. Everyone said it was rare and considered it a 'good luck charm', so they touched it."

An expert familiar with the ecology of Leatherback Turtle remarked, "It's relatively rare for them to travel along the coast of Hokkaido. It's quite unusual."

Leatherback turtles are said to inhabit warm seas. So why was it found in Hokkaido's cold waters?

Daisuke Koichi from the Fisheries Research and Education Organization's Fisheries Resources Institute said, "The water temperatures around Hokkaido have been higher than average this year. In September, the data showed that it was about 4 to 5°C warmer. There's no doubt that the higher water temperature is one of the reasons the Leatherback Turtle ventured here."

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