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Page last updated at 14:37 GMT, Tuesday, 20 April 2010 15:37 UK

'Tropical' turtle seen off island

Leatherback sea turtle
Leatherbacks usually inhabit the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans

A rare sighting of a Leatherback turtle has been reported off the coast of the Isle of Man.

The turtle, which is usually found in tropical regions such as the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans, was seen by a fisherman off the coast of Langness.

Only 28 reported sightings of the creature have been recorded in the sea around the island since 1748.

Skipper of the Coral Strand, Jack Lamont, saw the turtle swimming about 50m from his boat.

"Initially I thought it was a piece of driftwood because it was really dark," he said.

"But then I realised that by the speed of it going through the water it couldn't possibly have been a bit of driftwood, and I realised it was a Leatherback turtle.

"I sighted it for about a minute and then I saw it just dip under the water and go."

The Fisheries Division of the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) said it would welcome reports from anyone who has seen unusual species in Manx waters, such as sea turtles, sunfish and crawfish.



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