The FLSTSSN gathers data on dead, sick, or injured (i.e., stranded) sea turtles found in Florida.
This network functions as a part of an eighteen-state network led by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). In Florida, strandings are documented by the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) staff biologists and by a network of permitted participants located around the state.
Live strandings are rescued and transported to properly permitted rehabilitation facilities. Strandings data collected on a standardized reporting form include date, species, location, carapace length and width, carcass condition, carcass disposition, and information on anomalies (e.g., entanglement, propeller damage, and fibropapillomas).
Additionally, certain carcasses are collected by FWRI staff for gross or detailed necropsy. FWRI reports Florida sea turtle strandings to NMFS as a part of a management plan intended to reduce the incidental take of turtles in the shrimp fishery.
FWRI also uses sea turtle stranding data to monitor mortality and to detect and describe any unusual stranding events. Stranding data collected through the FLSTSSN have been used extensively in the identification of mortality factors and in the development of recovery actions (e.g., Turtle Excluder Device requirements and gill net regulations).