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Anna Maria Island
Non Profit Organizations

Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch

Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch, Inc.- In partnership with the Island Community through public education and cooperation. The mission of the AMI Turtle watch to assure a suitable habitat for sea turtles, people, the ecosystem of the island and it's surrounding waters. Our goals are to maintain the current sea turtle population and to prevent a potentially irreversible decline in the population through: Increasing the hatchling survival rate by educating the public about the impact of lights, beach debris, habitat destruction, and marine pollution. Reducing disturbances and harassment of nesting sea turtles by public education about the hazards of nighttime beach activities, habitat destruction, and beach lighting. Contributing data to the State of Florida Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvaging Network. Organizing and participating in beach cleanup of firework debris on the 5th of July. Conducting daily nesting surveys from April to November in Anna Maria City, Holmes Beach, Bradenton Beach. Transporting sick and injured sea turtles to rehabilitation facilities for eventual release back into their natural environment.

What you can do to help sea turtles:

Please refer to the T urtle Watches website should you find a hatchling, turtle, or an exposed nest
Minimize beachfront lighting visible from the beach

Do not approach an adult turtle coming out of the water to nest. You may startle her and she may return to the water without nesting
Do not position yourself in front of a nesting female. This action may cause her to abort her nesting attempt

Avoid using flashlights or flash cameras. Lights disrupt or disorient nesting turtles and emerging hatchlings
Watch for and avoid hatchlings emerging from a nest. They are small and easily stepped on in the dark

Use care while on the beach at night during nesting season
Please walk along the water line

The Issue of Lights

Each year we work toward improving light problems that affect sea turtles. The good news is the three cities are making big strides toward changing out streetlights with new fixtures that hopefully will keep the streets lit without shining on the beaches. Even though we have had one disorientation due to condo lighting, many people have made the effort to change or shield lights.
In an effort to help this threatened species survive, all local coastal governments have adopted and enforce Sea Turtle Conservation Codes. Compliance with these regulations has resulted in thousands of successful sea turtle hatchlings safely reaching our Gulf waters. Manatee County alone contains over 11 miles of beach habitat suitable for seaturtle nesting.

On a natural beach, the lighter seaward horizon guides the hatchlings to the water. Artificial lights,however, confuse the hatchlings and they wander inland. Lost and disoriented, they soon die from dehydration, heat exhaustion or they are crushed on nearby streets.
Sea turtles are protected under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) as well as the Florida Statutes. Violations defined by ESA include harassing a nesting female, taking hatchlings or disturbing a nest.


May 1 through October 31 of each year, beach residents must shield all lights that can be seen from the beach from 9pm to 7am. Light can travel great distances so shielding is important to reduce visible light along the beach.

Lights may not directly or indirectly illuminate the beach. Even reflected light can disorient sea turtles. Interior lights can also illuminate the beach. Please close curtains or blinds after 9pm.

Lights visible from the beach alters the critical nocturnal behavior of sea turtles .. . how female sea turtles choose their nesting sites, how they return to the sea after nesting and how the newly emerged hatchlings find their way to the ocean.

Motorized vehicles and open fires are not allowed on the beach during the sea turtle nesting season.

Other Hazards

In protecting a species from extinction, it is important to also protect their habitat and for sea turtles that means not only the oceans but also the beaches where they nest.
Beach furniture and other equipment left on the beach may prevent turtles from reaching a suitable nesting location. Sea turtles may even become entangled in beach clutter.

Please dispose of monofilament properly. Many marine animals die because they become entangled in carelessly discarded monofilament line.

Please report dead or injured sea turtles or if you accidentaly hook a sea turtle and the turtle is small enough to reel in, immediately call:
Florida Marine Patrol (1-800-DIAL-FMP)
or contact
Anna Maria Turtle Watch, Inc. at

The information on this page is from the
Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch website. Please visit their website for further information!

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