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Sea Turtle Disentanglement Network


Sea turtles can become accidentally entangled in active or discarded fixed fishing gear and other materials. These entanglements may prevent the recovery of endangered and threatened sea turtle populations. In response to high numbers of leatherback sea turtles found entangled in the vertical lines of fixed gear in the Northeast Region, the NOAA Fisheries Service Northeast Region established the Northeast Atlantic Coast Sea Turtle Disentanglement Network (STDN). Formally established in 2002, the STDN is an important component of the National Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network. The STDN works to reduce serious injuries and mortalities caused by entanglements.

Entangled Leatherback
Photo: Don Lewis

Whelk Pot
Photo: Kara Dodge, NOAA

Entangled Leatherback
Photo: M. Cook, VAQS


What To Do If You Encounter An Entangled Sea Turtle

Call for emergency response immediately and visually monitor the animal from a distance until you speak with a responder, or they arrive on scene: 


NMFS Northeast Region Stranding Hotline at 866-755-NOAA (6622)
Call the US Coast Guard on VHF Ch. 16
In Massachusetts - Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies at 1-800-900-3622
In all other states - Contact your local Stranding Network

What You Can Do To Help: Information You Can Provide To The Emergency Responders

When you see an entangled turtle, first disengage your engine and observe the animal from a distance. Collect the following information and relay the details to the emergency responders (phone numbers listed above).

Safety Tips

Entangled Leatherback
Photo: NOAA

Entangled Leatherback
Photo: M. Cook, VAQS

For more information, please contact Kate Sampson, Northeast Region Sea Turtle Stranding and Disentanglement Coordinator, at (978) 282-8470.

For more information on the stranding program, please contact