You may have noticed the sea turtle nesting signs posted around the beaches in Florida recently and you probably did your best to avoid any roped off areas--but careful as you may be, you should still know how sea turtle nesting season could impact your summer beach vacation, and according a post made by the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute on Facebook late last month, sea turtle nesting season has officially begun across the state as of May 1.
"Some turtles have already been spotted on Florida’s beaches; help do your part to keep them safe," the post reads in part with the following best practices:
But besides best practices, do note that Florida's five species of marine turtles are protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 and Florida's Marine Turtle Protection Act.
"Remember, sea turtles are protected by law. Keep your distance and give sea turtles space if you see one on the beach: Never touch a nesting turtle because it might leave the beach without nesting if disturbed," the FWC posts notes.
While you are well within your rights to admire the turtles and their nests from afar, according to the FWC's official website, Florida law restricts the take, possession, disturbance, mutilation, destruction, selling, transference, molestation, and harassment of marine turtles, nests or eggs. Failure to abide by these laws can lead to fines and even imprisonment.
Sea turtle nesting season will be running all the way through October 31, which means from now until then you should be extra vigilant while at the beach during this delicate time. It is paramount to the sea turtle's safety and yours.
Additionally, the FWC asks that you report sea turtles that are sick, injured, dead, entangled or are in danger to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline: 888-404-3922 so trained responders can help.