Thursday, June 6, 2013

‘Lights out’ for turtles

‘Lights out’ for turtles

Millions of years of evolution have taught newly-hatched sea turtles to follow the brightest light to the ocean. That used to be moonlight reflecting on the water. Today it is a variety of lights put there by humans. Saving the turtles requires that we have a "lights out" ban near our beaches during nesting season.

Loggerhead Sea Turtles
"The first nests found on North Redington Beach and at Fort De Soto Park mark the start of sea turtle season. The residents and owners of beachfront properties are reminded of the “lights out” ban. Most of the Pinellas County beach communities have ordinances in place prohibiting lighting that casts glare onto the beach during turtle nesting season, from May 1 to Oct. 31.

Florida’s beaches are essential for nesting loggerheads. The Pinellas County beachfront area averages about 120 nests per season and each nest can contain, on average, 100 to 110 eggs. The last nest is expected to hatch by the end of October.

Each May and July, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium conducts a beach lighting survey to identify problem lighting that may not be in compliance with turtle protection ordinances. Properties with lights shining on the beach at night are reported to Pinellas County Coastal Management and the local code enforcement agency."

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