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Marine Turtle Protection

Laws:

Sea turtles are either endangered or threatened. They are protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 and Florida's Marine Turtle Protection Act (379.2431, Florida Statutes).

Florida Statutes restrict the take, possession, disturbance, mutilation, destruction, selling, transference, molestation, and harassment of marine turtles, nests or eggs.  Protection is also afforded to marine turtle habitat.  A specific authorization from Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) staff is required to conduct scientific, conservation, or educational activities that directly involve marine turtles in or collected from Florida, their nests, hatchlings or parts thereof, regardless of applicant's possession of any federal permit under the Florida Marine Turtle Permit Rule (Chapter 68E-1, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.)).

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the FWC dually review permits for coastal construction under the Beaches and Coastal Systems Rule (Chapter 62B, F.A.C.). that affect Marine Turtles.

Regulations:

The state of Florida developed the Model Lighting Ordinance for Marine Turtle Protection Rule (62B-55, F.A.C.) to guide local governments in creating lighting ordinances. The many counties and municipalities in Florida that have passed ordinances prohibiting light from reaching the beach can be found on the Municipal Code Corporation web site.

List of the Counties/Municipalities with these Ordinances

Map of the Counties/Municipalities with these Ordinances

FWC Marine Turtle Conservation Handbook:

The FWC issues permits for activities involving marine turtles in Florida under authority granted to the state through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under Section 6 of the U.S. Endangered Species Act.  All activities relating to marine turtles must be authorized under subsection 379.2431(1), Florida Statutes.

The FWC Marine Turtle Conservation Handbook provides instruction to Florida marine turtle permit holders on acceptable research and conservation techniques.