Loggerhead sea turtle. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Loggerhead sea turtle.  Officials do not know what kind of sea turtle was speared in Frisco yesterday. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Update from the NPS at 5:47 p.m. Sept. 18, 2015

Thanks to all media contacts that covered the story on the illegal attempt to take of a sea turtle at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  The carcass of a dead sea turtle was recovered in the Frisco Pier area this afternoon.  
All questions and inquiries about this law enforcement investigation should be forwarded to NOAA law enforcement as the lead agency at 1-800-853-1964.

From the National Park Service Sept. 18, 2015

Island visitors yesterday reported seeing a male with a spear gun attempting to take a live sea turtle in the ocean waters under the Frisco Pier at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The sea turtle was struck in the back by the spear and was injured, but swam away.  The Seashore and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are jointly investigating the incident.

NOAA, as the lead agency, has identified the suspect and is asking the general public for assistance in locating the injured sea turtle.  If anyone finds an injured or deceased sea turtle on Hatteras Island or Ocracoke Island, please contact the National Park Service at 252-475-9010 or 9013.

Five species of sea turtles can be found on Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches: loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), Green (Cehlonia mydas), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbriacata).

All are either threatened or endangered species that are afforded protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Violations involving an endangered species are punishable by fines of up to $50,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.

Crimes involving threatened species have fines of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 6 months.

Seashore law enforcement rangers are working with federal, state and local authorities to solve this crime.

The Dare Community Crimeline is offering a reward for information leading to the conviction in this case.  For more information, please contact:

http://darecommunitycrimeline.org, or call 252-473-3111 or 800-745-2746.

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