Water-Related News

Sea Turtle nesting season starts May 1st

Keep light out of sight when Sea Turtle nesting season starts May 1st

Sea turtle nesting season starts May 1, with Sarasota County beaches playing host to the largest population of nesting sea turtles on the Gulf Coast of Florida, averaging over 200 nests per mile.

Unfortunately, only one out of every 1,000 hatchlings will survive to adulthood. Most die from predators, and both the exhaustion and starvation caused by disorientingly bright, artificial lights. To help those hatchling survive, residents are urged to keep light out of sight, and remove unused beach furniture and coastal structures, through the end of the nesting period Oct. 31.

According to Sarasota County Wildlife Specialist Jaclyn Irwin, here are some ways to help sea turtles beat the odds:

  • 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.

"We are fortunate here in Sarasota County to play host to such an abundant nesting population," Irwin said, adding, "Let's all do our part to help them survive."

For questions or assistance with adjusting lighting, property owners can reach Sarasota C