"We decided the least stressful thing for this animals ... was just to remove it there and then," he explained.
Fortunately, the procedure was quick, and as soon as it was removed the turtle seemed happy to rediscover her airways, Robinson said.
"There were a couple of moments where you could see her taking these little shallow breaths," he noted. "She seemed active, she wasn't bleeding and she seemed very healthy ... she swam back into the waves."
The rescue made a world of difference to this individual sea turtle, but it also provided insight into how the sea turtles are coming across the plastic. While Robinson previously speculated that the first turtle had impaled himself while rummaging around on the ocean floor, the position of the plastic fork, which had the head back in the turtle's nasal passages rather than sticking out, indicates that the animals are actually ingesting the plastic.