The heart-breaking moment a floundering turtle covered in rubbish struggles to dive beneath the surface has been caught on camera.
Trapman Bermagui, a professional fisherman based on the South Coast of , stumbled upon the struggling animal on Monday.
The fisherman described the turtle as looking a ‘bit sick’ after he watched it fail to pull itself down below the surface to dive.
A local fisherman noticed the turtle struggling to dive below the surface on NSW’s South Coast
He noticed the turtle had some rubbish attached to one of its flippers which he removed, but said it didn’t seem to help the animal.
The video attracted concern from Facebook users, who speculated that the turtle was suffering from ‘floating syndrome’.
‘More then likely full of plastic from grubs not looking after the environment’, one commented.
‘Probably gut full of plastic.
They lose buoyancy control’, another observed.
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‘A tiger shark won’t pass him up’, another user said.
A spokesman from the Australian Sea Bird Rescue confirmed the turtle in the video was most likely suffering ‘floating syndrome’.
He said ingesting plastic would cause gas to get underneath a turtle’s shell, which would cause them to float on their side.
‘That’s why they get sick, they can’t eat and they eventually get washed up, Terraristik Fachhandel and that’s when we find them’, he said.
Fred Nucifora, director of Reef HQ Aquarium in Townesville, North Queensland said ‘floating syndrome’ was a common ailment of turtles.
Viewers of the heartbreaking video speculated if the turtle was suffering from ‘floating syndrome’
In an initiative launched by the Queensland Government, the aquarium opened a marine hospital in 2009 and has since rehabilitated hundreds of turtles.
Turtles suffering the condition remain buoyant on the water’s surface, unable to dive down for food, making them an easy target for sharks or boat traffic in the area.
‘Floating syndrome is caused by a build up of gas in the turtle’s body, which can happen after it has ingested marine debris that blocks its gastrointestinal tract and prevents food being properly digested’, Mr Nucifora said.