Specialists from Palma Aquarium joined the hunt for the turtle.

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The leatherback sea turtle, sometimes called the lute turtle or leathery turtle or simply the luth, is the largest of all living turtles. It reaches a size of two metres in length and can weigh up to 600 kilos. As with other turtles, it is at risk of extinction.

There has been no proof of the turtle living off Balearic waters. The only recorded evidence has been for dead turtles. One was found stranded in 2001, and there were two in Ibiza last year. On Thursday, however, video footage was captured of a turtle some five miles off Puerto Soller.

Joan Ruiz, who owns a restaurant in Puerto Soller and is a Soller councillor who has held responsibility for the environment, was fishing on Thursday when he came across the turtle. It was around 1.9 metres in length and would have been at least 200 kilos. It also had a longline hook nailed in its mouth.

He informed the natural sciences museum in Soller, which got in touch with Palma Aquarium. The video was checked and it was confirmed that it was a lute turtle.

The environment ministry set up a search for the turtle yesterday with the assistance of specialists from the aquarium and the coastguard.