SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Mote Marine Lab is working hard ahead of Independence Day to make sure beachgoers protect sea turtles during their nesting season.
So far, the Mote Marine Lab has recorded more than 600 nests along beaches from Longboat Key to Venice.
“We are looking to break records this year with nests,” said Mote Marine Lab Senior Biologist, Melissa Bernhard.
Sea turtle nesting season runs from May 1 until Oct. 1.
Mote Marine Lab and 8 On Your Side have some tips for you to follow to protect the sea turtles:
- If you encounter a nesting turtle or hatchlings, remain quiet and observe from a distance.
- Shield or turn off outdoor lights that are visible on the beach from May through October.
- Close drapes after dark and put beach furniture far back from the water.
- Fill in holes that may entrap hatchlings on their way to the water.
- Bring beach furniture in at night. Nesting females can get stuck under beach furniture.
Remember that sea turtles, sea turtle eggs and nest marking materials are protected under federal law and any harassment or interference with a sea turtle, living or dead, is subject to penalty.