Lake Illawarra fishermen reeled in an unexpected guest early yesterday, a 12-kilogram green turtle.
The turtle, affectionately named Hooka, was reported to the Australian Seabird Rescue (ASR) team who collected her later in the morning.
The ASR and the Southern Oceans Seabird Study Association (SOSSA) worked in conjunction to assess and care for the young turtle before releasing her back into the ocean.
SOSSA president Lindsay Smith said it was not uncommon to see green turtles in the area but Hooka was in surprisingly good condition.
‘‘Unfortunately many animals we get are unwell,’’ he said. ‘‘The majority of marine turtles that are ill, are as a result of plastic bags. We call upon the public to notify us if they see a turtle on the beach. They don’t nest here and the only time they come to land is when they are in strife.’’
If an animal is unwell, ASR and SOSSA will transfer it to Taronga Wildlife Clinic in Sydney.
Hooka was released at Port Kembla Beach during yesterday morning’s high tide. Waves rolled over her shell as she splashed her way back into the ocean.
‘‘It’s a lovely feeling to see her released,’’ ASR volunteer Betty Spilsted said. ‘‘That’s why we volunteer, because we love helping animals.’’