192 Ma'alaea Road, Wailuku, HI, 96793 info@mocmarineinstitute.org Maui Sea Turtle Stranding Hotline: 808-286-2549

SEA TURTLES

MOC Marine Institute coordinates response to sick, injured, distressed, or expired sea turtles on Maui in partnership and coordination with NOAA Fisheries.


Sea Turtles of Hawaiʻi


Five of the seven species of sea turtles can be found in the waters of Hawaiʻi, but the most commonly seen are green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) or honu in Hawaiian. Although less common, snorkelers and divers may also come across a hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), known as honuʻea or ‘ea in Hawaiian, while exploring Hawaii’s coral reefs.

Green Sea Turtle

Hawksbill Sea Turtle


Sea Turtle Stranding Response and Rescue


Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute (MOCMI) coordinates the response to sick, injured, distressed, or expired sea turtles on the island of Maui, Hawaiʻi in partnership and coordination with NOAA Fisheries (as per regulations: 50 CFR Part 222.301).

To report a sick or injured sea turtle, please contact us on our 24-hour Sea Turtle Stranding Response Hotline at (888) 256-9840.


Fibropapillomatosis (FP)


FP is a disease that causes benign, cauliflower-like tumor growths internally and on the soft tissue of sea turtles. In mass, the tumors may inhibit a sea turtle’s sight, mobility, and foraging ability. Although most often seen in green turtles, FP has been found in all sea turtle species. Researchers around the world are studying the disease to identify a cause and potential cure.


Basking


Hawaiʻi is one of only three places in the world where green sea turtles are known to bask (rest) on shore. As reptiles, the body temperature of sea turtles is influenced by the temperature of their environment. It is believed that green sea turtles bask to conserve energy and to help regulate their body temperature. Sea turtles are protected species; please keep a respectful distance of 10 feet (3 meters) if you come across one basking on shore.


Lawaiʻa Pono: Fishing Line Recycling Program


Abandoned fishing line damages coral colonies and entangles sea turtles, monk seals, manta rays, and other marine animals. Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute (MOCMI) seeks to prevent pollution and decrease harmful interactions between marine life and discarded fishing line through the establishment of the Fishing Line Recycling Program.

The FLRP provides an easily accessible method for fishers to take a hands-on, proactive approach to prevent pollution and reduce entanglement hazards by properly discarding their line. Fishing line recycling bins and educational signage are installed at 25 high-traffic fishing locations along Maui’s shoreline, harbors, and boat ramps, and on four sites in Hilo, Hawaiʻi Island.

Fishing line is routinely collected from the recycling bins, sorted of hooks and weights, measured, and recorded in our database. The line is then shipped to the Berkley Conservation Institute where it is melted down and made into fish habitat structures and other repurposed equipment.

Our team performs bi-weekly shoreline and underwater surveys to collect and document discarded fishing line and other fishing debris. The data obtained will be used to measure the program’s success over time.