An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Sarasota County, USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

Be Kind to Marine Life During July 4 Weekend

The first local sea turtle hatchlings of the year emerged June 17 from a loggerhead sea turtle nest on Casey Key, according to Mote Marine Laboratory scientists who monitor nesting along 35 miles of beaches from Longboat Key through Venice.

The Sarasota Police Department and Mote, a nonprofit research and education institution, would like to remind residents and visitors to help keep local waters and beaches safe for summer recreation and sea turtle nesting season. This message will be especially important during the July 4 weekend, when local waters and beaches will be busy for the holiday and the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix off Lido Beach.

The Sarasota Police Department, Mote and Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix event partners will be reminding the public of the Sarasota County Sea Turtle Protection Ordinance, Chapter 54, Article XXIII of the Sarasota County Code of Ordinances, which protects endangered sea turtles on all local beaches, including Lido Beach, throughout nesting season, May 1 – Oct. 31.

The Sarasota County Sea Turtle Protection Ordinance requires that any “temporary structures, including but not limited to beach chairs, umbrellas and cabanas which have the potential for entrapment of marine turtles and which may interfere with the use of the natural beach environment for nesting habitat, be removed from the beach nightly, from sunset to sunrise.” Beach furniture and other beach equipment, toys or trash left on the beach overnight during sea turtle nesting season can pose a serious entanglement hazard and obstacle for sea turtles and their hatchlings. To comply with ordinances, beachgoers should wait until at least 6:30 a.m. to set up furniture or equipment. This will allow any new turtle crawls and nests to be documented by Mote scientists. If you see turtle tracks not yet documented by Mote (documented tracks are crossed out with an ‘X’), please avoid placing furniture on them if possible.

In addition, please do not approach nesting turtles or hatchlings, do not make noise around turtles and their nests, and do not use fireworks, flashlights or fishing lamps on the beach. Artificial lights can disorient nesting turtles and their hatchlings, which emerge at night and use dim natural light to find the sea.