Maui Ocean Center to release 6 green turtles

Maui Ocean Center will release six juvenile green sea turtles into the ocean at 10:30 a.m. Thursday on the shoreline fronting Ka’anapali Beach Hotel.

“These 2-year-old turtles are healthy and ready for life in the open ocean,” said John Gorman, curator at the Maui Ocean Center, whose staff fed, cleaned and cared for the turtles, or “honu” in Hawaiian.

The center has been part of Sea Life Park Hawaii’s Hawaiian green sea turtle Educational Loan Program since the center opened in 1998. This will be the center’s third release from shore.

The event will begin at 9 a.m., with festivities and educational opportunities including presentations by local marine biologists, researchers and community members, informational booths, a turtle encounter and blessing of the turtles, and live music.

The turtles were hatched at Sea Life Park on Oahu and have lived at the center on Maui since July 2011. Sea Life Park is home to a colony of adult Hawaiian green sea turtles.

The turtles that are kept at the center and other institutions provide an educational opportunity for those visiting the institutions, a release said.

The turtles released will have special tags implanted in both rear flippers for identification reasons by researchers.

The turtle loan program is authorized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and conducted under the scientific advice of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center.

The release will involve various state and federal officials as well.

The event is free. A special event parking rate of $5 is available at the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel, with validation from the center’s information table at the event.

For more information call 270-7000 or see