MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It's that time of year again. It's sea turtle nesting season so if you are planning a trip to the beach, be careful where you step.
Sea turtle nesting season begins in May and lasts through the end of October. It's a critical time when people can help keep sea turtles and hatchlings safe.
The good news is nest numbers were up in 2015, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials want to keep those numbers up.
"In order to keep sea turtles and our beaches and oceans healthy, it's important for all of us to be good neighbors and do our part," said Dr. Robbin Trindell, who leads the sea turtle management program at the FWC.
All sea turtles are protected by Florida and federal laws. It is illegal to touch or disturb nesting sea turtles, hatchlings or their nests.
Here are some other important tips.
- Don't shine lights on sea turtles or hatchlings or take pictures of them including cell phone photos.
- Use the Right Light to Help Them at Night. Turn off or adjust lighting along the beach in order to prevent nesting females or hatchlings from getting confused and going toward lights on land instead of the salt water, where they belong. Use turtle-friendly lighting on outside lights on homes and other buildings along the beach. Replace incandescent, fluorescent and high-intensity bulbs with FWC-certified low-wattage, long wavelength options available in red or amber colors. Turn out outdoor lights at night when not needed.
- Clear the Way at the End of the Day. Nesting mothers and hatchling sea turtles can get trapped or confused by beach furniture left on the beach at night. Bring furniture (such as beach chairs, umbrellas, buckets and tents) back to your house, condo or hotel at the end of the day.
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