All sea turtles found in Florida are protected under the state’s marine turtle protection act. The state’s statutes restrict taking, possessing, disturbing, mutilating, destructing, selling, or harassment of marine turtles, nests or eggs. The sea turtles nesting season has started this month of May and many of the beaches are protected by the Florida State Parks which includes the beaches of St. Pete Beach.
Protection of Sea Turtles
There many factors that may endanger the population of turtles, including loss of their nesting habitat. There are ways that everyone can take part to share Florida’s beaches with sea turtles and its hatchlings:
- Leave only your footprints when you depart. Remove beach chairs, umbrellas, tents, towels, trash, and any swimming or sports equipment.
- Give nesting adults and their hatchlings space and take care not to disturb them.
- Properly dispose of food items to decrease predation from wildlife.
- Dispose properly any debris like fishing line, netting, and plastics.
- Dogs are not allowed on the beach. They can potentially disturb a nest.
- Don’t use any artificial light such as flashlights, flash photography, or video equipment at night on the beaches. Light can disrupt their natural behavior and can cause a female to lase crawl or lead a hatchling away from the water.
- Participate in beach cleanup events.
- Fill in any hoes on the beach. Female sea turtles and their hatchlings can easily be trapped into holes left on the beach.
- Do not disturb them. Don’t put your hands on or near any sea turtle.
- Buy a turtle license plate to raise money for the protection of sea turtles.
There are five different sea turtles species that are found in Florida’s waters and nesting on the beaches. As part of the community, we need all hands on deck to protect our wildlife.