Susan Coy, a veterinary technician with the Tampa aquarium, said the fisherman caught the Kemp's ridley sea turtle off Davis Islands in May and placed it in a freshwater tank in his home's backyard with the intention of cooking and eating the endangered creature, The Tampa Tribune reported Thursday.
However, the man was reported to authorities by a neighbor and state Fish and Wildlife authorities brought the turtle to The Florida Aquarium's Center for Conservation team.
Coy said the 15-pound turtle, dubbed Lucky, appeared lethargic and was not eating well when he was first brought to the facility.
"We basically just gave him a lot of (care)," she said.
Coy said the animal was rehabilitated and was released Wednesday at Cypress Point Park.
Authorities said the fisherman is likely to face federal charges for keeping a sea turtle.