Another reason to love living in Southwest Florida: sea turtle nesting season runs from May 1-Oct. 31, 2022. During this time, loggerhead, green, hawksbill, leatherback, and Kemp’s Ridley turtles make their nests along Sarasota-Manatee beaches—including Longboat Key, where Cannons is located—and it’s incredibly important it is to keep them safe. Here are some tips for making sure our local waters stay sea-turtle friendly, courtesy of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium.
- Do not encourage a turtle to move while nesting or pick up hatchlings that have emerged and are heading for the water.
- 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.
- Don’t approach nesting turtles or hatchlings, make noise, or shine lights at turtles.
- Avoid using flashlights or fishing lamps on the beach.
- Don’t use fireworks on the beach.
- Follow Coast Guard-approved safe boating guidelines and use vigilance to avoid striking sea turtles and other large marine life.
- Be sure to stow trash and line when under way. Marine debris that accidentally blows overboard or out of a truck can become ingested by or entangled around marine life.
- Wear polarized sunglasses to better see marine life in your path.
If you see a sick, injured or stranded sea turtle in Sarasota or Manatee county waters, contact Mote Marine Laboratory’s Stranding Investigations Program at 888-345-2335. Outside of Sarasota or Manatee counties, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at 888-404-FWCC (3922).
Top image: Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium