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Below are video clips highlighting sea turtles that have been sighted in the sanctuary.

To view a video, simply click on play button (>) in the video controller at the bottom of the window. A brief description of each video is provided below the window.

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Videos on this page include:

Sea Turtles in the Sanctuary
Saving an Entangled Sea Turtle
Releasing Rehabilitated Hawksbill Sea Turtles

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Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta, Eretmochelys imbricata)

There are five species of sea turtles found in the Gulf of Mexico. Two of these, the loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and the hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), seem to be fairly regular visitors to Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) have also been reported, on occasion.

This video begins with a loggerhead sea turtle swimming over one of the sand flats at the Flower Garden Banks. The second half of the video shows a hawksbill sea turtle resting on the reef, then swimming slowly just above the corals.

Video Length: 0:27

Credit: FGBNMS/Hickerson, Schmahl

Saving an Entangled Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)

Fishing debris is one of several issues of concern in the sanctuary. Discarded fishing line, lures, weights, and nets all pose threats to the animals that live there.

Back in 2000, sanctuary researcher Emma Hickerson was diving at West Flower Garden Bank when she encountered this entangled loggerhead sea turtle. She was able to successfully remove the offending fishing line from around the turtle's head and neck. Since this is a threatened species, Emma had to have the proper permits in order to handle the animal. We're very glad she did, and the turtle seemed pretty pleased too!

Video Length: 0:38

Credit: FGBNMS/Hickerson and Melanie Wasson

Releasing Rehabilitated Hawksbill Sea Turtles
(Eretmochelys imbricata)


In partnership with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Sea Turtle Facility in Galveston, TX, the Flower Garden Banks research team assisted with the release of 7 rehabilitated hawksbill sea turtles July 18-19, 2012.

All of the turtles were originally found sick or injured along the Texas coast, many of them entangled in marine debris. The NMFS sea turtle facility rehabilitated these animals, getting them back to full health before releasing them back into the Gulf of Mexico.

The first few turtles were released near oil and gas production platforms where sea turtles often hang out. However, the turtles didn't seem very interested in the platforms.

The remaining turtles were released near large mats of sargassum floating on the surface and seemed to find this quite acceptable. They immediately swam into the algae for cover.

Thanks to the NOAA Fisheries sea turtle facility for its hard work rescuing these endangered species and getting them back in the ocean!

Video Length: 1:49

Credit: FGBNMS/Schmahl/Embesi/Johnston


weather report observations cool stuff get wet

Juvenile blue tang (fish).  Bright yellow body with irridescent blue marking around eye and at top edge of dorsal fin.
National Marine Sanctuary logo - a stylized whale tail above waves