Press release

John Dory’s celebrates the release of Phiko, a very special sea turtle

March 11, 2019

“Cheers Phiko! Enjoy and don’t come back!” With
these words, the young loggerhead sea turtle that brought so much joy over the
past year after being “adopted” by John Dory’s was released back into the
Atlantic ocean. After more than a year in captivity, it was the perfect
condition to release Phiko late in February  – the water was just warm
enough, the sea around Cape Town was calm and there were no storms coming.
Phiko swam away from the boat with strong strides, clearly enjoying the freedom
of the vast Atlantic waters where he feels most at home.

Phiko’s inspirational journey was recorded
after John Dory’s came on board in 2018 to provide funding for his
rehabilitation at the Two Oceans Aquarium. When Phiko first arrived at the
aquarium back in 2017 he was tiny and very weak. He was one of the many sea
turtles that are brought to the Two Oceans Aquarium after being found stranded
on Western Cape beaches. Phiko had very little chance of survival on his own
because of his weak flippers, but thanks to the financial support provided by
John Dory’s, the little fighter was given a second chance.

Phiko’s weak flippers prompted extraordinary
medical care – even visiting “human hospitals” for MRI scans to establish
exactly what was wrong with him. Phiko received extensive treatment, including
daily physiotherapy that included flipper massages and custom-made flipper
restraints to help him exercise his weak flippers. His progress was slow
but steady and at the beginning of this year, it was clear that he was fit
enough for release back into his natural habitat.

John Dory’s decided to make a contribution to
the Two Oceans Aquarium’s sea turtle rescue, rehabilitation and release project
because the brand is committed to the preservation of our oceans and the
natural seafood resources, explains Donna Meiring, John Dory’s Brand Manager.
“We adopted Phiko as part of our sustainability journey and to communicate that
the oceans are a living, breathing organism which needs to be looked after for
future generations,” Donna says. “Partnering with the Two Oceans Aquarium was a
natural fit for us, as it enhances the work that we do. It was so wonderful to
follow Phiko’s recovery all the way to his release back into the ocean,” Donna

The Two Oceans Aquarium is actively involved in
the rescue of many sea turtles along the Western Cape coastline through their
extensive Turtle Rescue Network. Rehabilitation of these turtles can take
anywhere between a couple of months to years, depending on the extent of the
turtle’s injuries and illness. On average, the rehabilitation cost for a turtle
hatchling is R27 per day, but specialised vet care and tests add to this amount
– each turtle is treated as a special patient requiring separate attention.

“It is incredibly rewarding working with
companies and retailers who truly care about their impact on the environment,”
said Maryke Musson, Two Oceans Aquarium Curator. “John Dory’s has shown their
commitment to being eco-responsible through making positive changes in
sustainable procurement, partnering with WWF’s SASSI programme, eliminating the
use of various single-use plastic items from their restaurants and involving
staff and customers in beach and river clean-ups. We support their Eco Voyage
and we’ve been very appreciative of their support to get Phiko back into the
ocean to continue with his turtle voyage.”

John Dory’s has also supported the
Aquarium’s Trash Bash beach cleanup with sponsorships of prizes for the
event as well as sending a team of staff to assist with the beach clean-up.

Human beings are often very irresponsible with
how we look after nature, says Leonard Coetzee, John Dory’s Chief Operations
Officer. “Every piece of plastic and rubbish that ends up on the floor will
find its way into a gutter and into rivers and oceans and eventually be
ingested by our little friends in the ocean. We often do not realise the amount
of damage caused by humans. It is critical that we have a message that we share
the need to be more responsible regarding how we live on planet earth. The
people at Two Oceans Aquarium are doing an amazing job and we’ve been very
honoured to share this journey with them. Providing funding for little Phiko
was just the beginning, we would like to continue to make a difference through
various other campaigns and educational projects that help preserve the fragile
ecology in our oceans. We look forward to a long-standing relationship with the
Two Oceans Aquarium.”