In Cape Town an the 25th of January, 2009 at 11h07 Marine and Coastal Management (MCM) requested the assistance of the NSRI to locate a Leatherback Turtle reported to be fouled in crayfish net ropes and a floatation buoy off-shore of Kommetjie.
Mike Meyer of MCM said that the crew aboard a Crayfish Bakkie (small boat) reported finding the fouled turtle but had to abandon trying to help the trapped animal and head to shore for fear of being caught in a thick fog that was rolling in on them.
Brad Geyser, NSRI Hout Bay station commander said that both NSRI Hout Bay’s rescue craft MTU Nadine Gordimer and Albie Matthews responded and MCM’s Mike Meyer accompanied the operation.
Brad said that on arrival on-scene, in thick fog, the crayfish net, identified as that responsible, was located but no sign of the turtle was found and it is suspected that the turtle may have freed itself although the situation will continue to be monitored and the NSRI are appealing to fishermen in the area to report any sightings related to this incident.
Brad said that the crayfish net, rope and floatation buoy responsible were hauled aboard the rescue craft, all crayfish found inside the net were freed back to the sea, and the nets were brought to the NSRI Hout Bay rescue base to be returned to the owners.
Brad added, with humour, that any members of the public who witnessed the NSRI crew retrieving the crayfish net at sea and who may have adverse suspicions to what they saw should be reassured that it was related to this operation.