Florida wildlife conservationists have issued a BOLO — Be On the Look Out — for nesting sea turtles and other wildlife as summer beach season reaches its peak.
Here at Allard PPC, our founder Ross wants to remind boaters and beachgoers to watch out for sea life and be mindful of our annual seasonal reptile visitors.
Sarasota County has the greatest concentration of loggerhead sea turtle nests on the Gulf Coast, and Manasota Key to the south is not far behind. It’s #TurtleTuesday, so help us spread the word on social media to #sharethebeach.
Unfortunately, south Sarasota County is still feeling the effects of a dreadful red tide bloom, forcing some human visitors to cancel their trips, which takes a toll on the local economy during the tourist offseason.
Riding the Waves watersports company cancelled bookings on Saturday, posting photos of dead fish from tarpon to pufferfish along Manasota Key.
The Beach Guy who serves Englewood Beach, also shut down on Friday, citing strong red tide and a heavy fish kill.
At Allard PPC, our founder Ross has been yomping about, looking for somewhere safe to pursue his passion for water sports. Follow his coastal adventures on Instagram, by following the hashtag #663CoastalYomper.
Before you hit the beach, get updated info from Mote Marine Laboratory at https://visitbeaches.org/
Or check the statewide Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission page at http://myfwc.com/research/redtide/statewide/
Even the daily Venice Beach yoga crowd couldn’t escape the effects of the red tide bloom, and donned masks to protect their lungs during a recent practice. And some Manasota Key Turtle Patrol volunteers also were sporting masks as they checked the beaches for turtle nests.
The Coastal Wildlife Club, which monitors sea turtle nesting on Manasota Key, reports heavy red tide and fish kills, but the turtles apparently have not been deterred. Follow this group’s reports on Facebook.
And as thousands prepare to hit the beach for the annual HotelPlanner Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix races over the weekend, remember to share the beach with nesting turtles and shore birds in Lido Key. Marine observers will be in the air and on the water to stop the races if wildlife is observed in the offshore course. To report sick, injured or dead marine mammals or turtles, call 941-988-0212.
Here are more helpful tips from Sarasota County government on keeping the beach clear for nesting turtles. Man-made threats pose the biggest hurdles to the survival of the species.
- Remove furniture and recreational items from the beach
- Properly dispose of trash. Sea turtles often mistake garbage bags for jellyfish and trash can attract predators that prey on turtle eggs
- Knock down sand sculpture and fill in holes before you leave the beach
- Reduce use of lighting — extinguish or shield lights visible from the beach. Need assistance adjust lighting? Contact the county’s sea turtle protection program at 941-861-5000.
Get more sea turtle tips from our previous blog post.
Fast facts about sea turtles:
- Rare Kemp’s Ridley and green sea turtles often lay their eggs in the daytime. Anyone seeing a turtle nesting in the daytime is asked to send photos and contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Only 1 of 1,000 hatchlings will survive to adulthood.
- Sea turtles make 200 nests per mile in Sarasota County, the largest nesting population along the Gulf Coast.
- Loggerheads are the second largest sea turtle (tied with the green) and can weigh up to 400 pounds.
- Sea turtles make between 40,000 to 85,000 nests along the coasts of Florida, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Mark your calendar to join us as we celebrate all things water at Englewood Beach WaterFest on Nov. 9-18. Proceeds benefit organizations that foster protection of water and marine life, as well as those that encourage recreational use of our area’s fabulous water resources.
Check out this video of Bortie, a loggerhead that was tagged by Mote and released into the Gulf near Anna Maria Island.
Follow Bortie and other tagged turtles’ exploits online through the Sea Turtle Conservancy at https://conserveturtles.org/sea-turtle-tracking/.