Florida is an important place for the endangered and threatened sea
turtles of the world. Sea turtles nest on our beaches, forage for
food in our estuaries, and all too often wash-up dead on our
shoreline. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff
are dedicated to protecting sea turtles in Florida and learning as
much as possible about the biology and life history of these
The unusually long spell of cold weather in Florida in January 2010
has had a big impact on sea turtles. The FWC has been working with
staff from county, state, and federal agencies as well as numerous
volunteers on a mass rescue effort for sea turtles throughout the
Five species of sea turtles are found swimming in Florida's waters and nesting on Florida's beaches. All sea turtles found in Florida are protected under state statutes.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish and
Wildlife Research Institute coordinates nesting beach survey
programs around the state.
FWRI staff members coordinate the Florida Sea Turtle Stranding and
Salvage Network (FLSTSSN), which is responsible for gathering data
on dead or debilitated (i.e., stranded) sea turtles found in
Florida. Debilitated turtles are rescued and transported to
FWRI marine turtle program staff conduct research on the
distribution, abundance, life histories, ecology, migrations, and
threats to marine turtles in Florida and contiguous western
Atlantic and Caribbean waters.
Illegal harvesting, habitat encroachment, and pollution are only
some of the things sea turtles must fight against to stay alive.
Researchers at FWRI are studying these threats and finding ways to
help the population survive.