Sarasota County asks residents to ‘keep light out of sight’ during sea turtle nesting season

Sarasota County asks residents to ‘keep light out of sight’ during sea turtle nesting season
Sea turtle nesting season is getting ready to start. (Source: Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Sarasota County wants to remind residents and visitors that sea turtle nesting season starts May 1.

Beaches here play host to the largest population of nesting sea turtles on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

According to recent counts, Sarasota County beaches average over 200 nests per mile. Another sobering statistic is that one out of every 1,000 baby sea turtles will survive to adulthood. In addition to dealing with predators, hatchlings can also starve to death if subjected to disorienting artifical lights.

Residents are encouraged to remove unused beach furniture and avoid using artificial lights through the end of the nesting period on Oct. 31.

Here is a detailed list from Sarasotoa County Wildlife Specialists:

  • Each night, remove all furniture and recreational items from the beach and store them in an area landward of the beach and dunes.
  • Properly dispose of trash. Sea turtles ingest plastic bags and garbage attracts predators that eat turtle eggs.
  • While at the beach for essential activities avoid areas identified as nesting sites.
  • Reduce use of flashlights on the beach at night.
  • Recreate in locations away from marked nesting areas.
  • Property owners must either extinguish or shield lights visible from the beach, or replace white incandescent, fluorescent and high-intensity lighting with amber or red light-emitting diodes (LED) or low-pressure sodium vapor (LPS) fixtures.

To report an injured or dead sea turtle, contact the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888-404-FWCC (3922). For questions about how you can help, you can also contact Sarasota County’s Sea Turtle Protection Program by calling 941-861-5000.

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