AN endangered green turtle which was speared by some fishermen last week swam away freely in the ocean after it was released by the Fisheries Department yesterday.
The turtle was released along Suva's main passage, which is its main habitat.
Senior research officer Sunia Waqainabete said a tag with a number was put on the turtle to determine its migratory pattern.
"If the turtle travels to one area from the other, for example Samoa, they would know that the turtle is from Fiji," said Mr Waqainabete. "It is a way of trying to keep tag of it."
Fisheries officer Kolinio Naivalu said the department needed to be sure of the turtle's recovery before it was released.
"They also inhale oxygen and because when it was put in a sack after it was caught, it was deprived of fresh air," Mr Naivalu said. "That's why we kept it, fed it and made sure it recovered completely."
Mr Waqainabete said the public must be reminded that there was a ban on turtles. He encouraged people to report such incidents to their nearest police stations and help save the endangered species.