A Galician fisherman has been hailed for his epic battel to free a giant endangered leatherback sea turtle tangled in his fishing line.
The footage shows the huge sea turtle struggling to break free, with the tackle apparently forming a knot around its front left flipper.
The distressed leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), which is listed as a vulnerable species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, can be seen struggling to break free from the fishing line off the coast of Galicia, in northern Spain.
Eventually, the fisherman manages to cut away enough of the fishing line so that the large marine animal is freed and it quickly dives into deeper waters.
The fisherman, named as Jallu Fernandez, told local media: “In 32 years I have never seen a turtle this big.”
The incident took place just a mile from shore, in an area known as As Basonas, near the municipality of Porto do Son.
The sailor and his colleague were fishing in the area, with Fernandez saying: “We were lifting the longline and we noticed that it was very heavy.”
They were stunned to discover that there was a turtle on their line.
They estimated that it must have weighed “more than 300 kilogrammes” (660 lbs) and measured about a “metre and a half long” (4.9 feet).
Fernandez said: “It was huge. He had never seen anything like it.”
He added that it took half an hour to free the turtle and that the fishing line had become tangled around its neck.
Biologist Alfredo Lopez told local media that leatherbacks hatch in the Caribbean and spend their lives roaming the Atlantic, with many passing through Galician waters.
But he added that it was very rare to actually see one.