A 30-kilogram endangered hawksbill turtle was released back into the sea, on Thursday, after being rescued from a seafood restaurant in Bac Lieu Province.
Aquatic resource protection officers and agricultural inspectors, who returned the turtle to the sea, said that the rare animal had been caught by local fishermen and then sold to the restaurant.
The restaurant owners reportedly kept the creature in a cage for visitors to see and take photos with.
The hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is listed as an endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
Turtle soup is a delicacy in parts of Asia and turtle shells are crushed into powder for use in a jelly dessert.
The hawksbill shell is also used to make products like combs, ornamental hairpins and glasses frames.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, to which Vietnam is a signatory, bans the capture and trade of hawksbill turtles.