Non Profit Organizations
Maria Island Turtle Watch
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.
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
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.
YOU CAN HELP
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.
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.
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.
vehicles and open fires are not allowed on the beach during the sea turtle nesting
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
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
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
Florida Marine Patrol (1-800-DIAL-FMP)
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!