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Guiding Principles for Marine Turtle Permit Program

Guiding Principles

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is the State trustee for marine turtles in Florida.  As such it is our responsibility to manage and conserve this public trust resource for current and future generations.

The FWC operates under the authority and limitations of Florida State Statute 379.2431 (1) and Florida Administrative Code Rule 68E-1. Permitting authority for conducting research and conservation activities is granted to FWC by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) under a Cooperative Agreement consistent with the federal Endangered Species Act.

The FWC believes conservation is best accomplished through partnerships. We seek to partner with other agencies, local governments, academic institutions, and the private sector.

It is incumbent upon FWC to treat all partners fairly and ensure that our legal responsibilities are met and decisions are made with a high degree of transparency and thorough communication.

The FWC recognizes the importance of past, ongoing, and future scientific, conservation, and education activities that contribute to the conservation and recovery of marine turtles, and we start with the assumption that such activities are valuable.

Recognizing that a thorough knowledge of the biology of a species is essential for its conservation in a changing world, we support and encourage both applied research with immediate applications to management and also basic research that advances the understanding of sea turtle biology.

Effective research and management sometimes require manipulations that do not mimic natural conditions, and which may also entail risks or costs to individual animals. These costs are justified by benefits to the population. We support such activities when they have the potential to benefit current or future conservation. In doing so, we strive to minimize individual costs and maximize population benefits.

We evaluate conservation risk at a population level. Adults are more valuable to the population than hatchlings or eggs. Nevertheless, for all activities, we endeavor to minimize negative impacts and ensure that neither eggs nor turtles are put at risk without justification. Activities that result in the loss of eggs or turtles, or that pose substantial risk to either, are justifiable only when the goals cannot reasonably be achieved using other methods. Activities must always be humane. 

Unpublished or preliminary data collected as part of an FWC-permitted research project will not be presented by FWC without the written consent of the principal investigator. If data from an FWC permitted research project is published, it will not be used or referenced by FWC without proper citation. However, all data submitted to FWC is considered a public record and must be provided if requested as part of a public records request. Data collected as part of the index and state-wide nesting surveys sea turtle standing network and state-required monitoring are considered property of the FWC and may be summarized, analyzed, used, and reported.