Virginia Aquarium releases sea turtles back into ocean

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – In the shadow of King Neptune at the Oceanfront, seven sea turtles were given a second chance at life Wednesday.

Six of the sea turtles, called Kemp’s Ridleys, were incidently captured by recreational fishermen off of fishing piers. The one loggerhead turtle was caught on a fishing boat.

Normally, they might suffer a different fate. But under the Virginia Pier Partner Program, hooked turtles get properly removed from the water and turned over to the Virginia Aquarium, where they get rehabilitated and released back into the ocean.

Lynn Waldrop manages the Buckroe Fishing Pier and was there to assist the turtles and send them on their way back to the water.

“This year alone I think Buckroe has netted at least ten turtles,” said Waldrop. “It’s kind of like a buffet for the turtles. They swim by and see a piece of bait and just go after it.”

But events like today and the crowds they draw offer a big send off to these turtles- and hopefully a safe one.

“Once they’re out there, their instincts will kick in and they’ll go back to what they were doing,” said Kristine Williams of the Virginia Aquarium. “Except hopefully not taking bait off of hooks.”

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