The Turtles Are Coming

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Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants to remind everyone using the beaches to “Stash the Trash and Lights Out” in anticipation of the upcoming nesting season.

Beaches will soon be visited by sea turtles looking for just the right spot to lay their eggs, it’s important to keep lights low as many nest at night. Also important is removing obstacles and trash from the beach which benefits not only the turtles but all those who enjoy the beach.

Turtles and their hatchlings can easily be disoriented by bright lights which includes light emitted from cell phones, flashlights or headlamps. This can not only confuse the adult turtles but cause the little turtles to wander away from instead of towards the water. You can help by remembering to close the curtains and turn out the lights. Ensure that any outdoor lighting fixtures are mounted as low as possible with only long wavelength light bulbs (amber) and keep it shielded.

Trash or objects left on the beach can also negatively impact turtle nesting. This includes holes dug by young beachgoers, toys, shoes and other objects. Fishing line can be deadly to sea turtles and other wildlife, so be sure to dispose of it properly. To find a monofilament recycling station near you, visit mrrp.myfwc.com. While you’re out on that beautiful sunset walk be on the lookout for items left behind and pay it forward by picking it up.

”Dr. Robbin Trindell, who heads the FWC’s sea turtle management program encourages Floridans and visitors that “By keeping beaches dark and clearing the way at the end of the day, we can help ensure that these amazing animals keep returning to our beautiful state.”

Other ways to help sea turtles include reporting those that are sick, injured, entangled or dead to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

Purchasing a “Helping Sea Turtles Survive” Florida license plate contributes to sea turtle research, rescue and conservation efforts. People also can donate $5 and receive an FWC sea turtle decal.

For more information, see the FWC’s “Be a Beach Hero” brochure or visit MyFWC.com/SeaTurtle.