A Newquay aquarium is attempting to educate the public about what to do if they come across a washed up sea turtle following a rise in strandings.

Blue Reef Aquarium has issued a number of do’s and don’ts to give the sea reptiles the best chance of survival.

Steve Matchett, the general manager at Blue Reef Aquarium, said “Over the winter months and during stormy conditions, strong currents become increasingly difficult for juvenile turtles to navigate due to not being as strong as their adult counterparts. 

“This makes them more likely to wash ashore, which is of course a serious threat to their lives.

“It is incredibly important that any stranded turtles are handled correctly to ensure they get the care they need.

“It is said that attempting to return the turtle back to the ocean will do it more harm than good.

“With the effects of Storm Kathleen clear to see, many juvenile turtles are being washed up on our beaches needing our help to nurse them back to health, and then ultimately back into the sea.

“it is hoped that with clear instructions and guidance, the public can play their part in rescuing turtles safely and correctly.

“It is very important that any turtles washed up are not put back into the sea, as they will die as UK waters are too cold.

“Do not attempt to put the turtle back into the sea, wrap in a dry towel ensuring it doesn’t cover nostrils.

“Place in a secure place on its belly and do not attempt to warm the animal up, keep it at the same temperature you found it.

“If inactive, raise the back end of the shell so the turtle is resting at approximately 30° to drain lungs.

“Contact the British Divers Marine Life Rescue 24 hour hotline on 01825 765546.

“These rules do not apply to leatherback turtles which can be carefully re-floated if uninjured. Please check with an expert first.”

The Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay has rehabilitated and released several sea turtles over many years.