In 2014, the Virginia Aquarium began a pilot program with area fishing piers in an effort to educate fishermen on what to do in the event that a sea turtle becomes hooked. The pier partners are Lynnhaven Inlet, Virginia Beach, Little Island, Ocean View, Buckroe and Sea Gull Fishing Piers.
In 2016, through this Pier Partner Program, the Virginia Aquarium was able to rescue 39 sea turtles! A total of 90 turtles have been rescued since the program began in 2014.
The last turtle rescued in 2016 was a critically endangered Kemp’s ridley that was accidentally hooked on November 6, 2016 at the Sea Gull Fishing Pier. Ironically, this was the first rescued turtle from our Pier.
The turtle was named “Chili Powder” and on February 27, 2017, after a successful rehabilitation, “Chili” joined several other turtles in a caravan from the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD to St. Augustine, Florida, where they were released.
This Infographic highlights the success of this program thus far:
For more information on how to help save sea turtles please click here.
For more information, visit NOAA Fisheries Service.
NOTE: The Sea Gull Fishing Pier, and all other island amenities, closed to the public on October 1, 2017 to allow for the construction of the Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel. For more information on this project, click here.