Area beaches host an unusual marine visitor – the sea turtle. These magnificent animals emerge from the surf at night to lay their eggs in nests dug into the dry sand, then return to the sea.
Florida law prohibits anyone from taking or disturbing marine turtles nests or eggs.
The Town of Palm Beach has an ordinance that requires residents to not shine lights from their property toward the beach during turtle season. The lights confuse the hatchlings and they head toward the artificial light instead of the ocean.
From the Floria Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
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.
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.