Sarasota County, FL Sea Turtle Protection Program
Status: In effect
Sea Turtle Nesting Season May 1 – Oct. 31
The beaches of Sarasota County serve as an important nesting habitat for both the threatened loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and the endangered green (Chelonia mydas) sea turtle.
- Our beaches have supported nesting of both the Kemp’s ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempi) and the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), two of the most endangered species of sea turtles.
- Sarasota County has the highest density of sea turtle nesting on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
- All species of sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered and are protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, as well as the Marine Turtle Protection Act Chapter 370.12 (Florida Administrative Code).
Marine Turtle Protection Code
The Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan requires that special measures are taken to protect sea turtles and their habitat.
- 1. In 1997 the Sarasota County Marine Turtle Protection Code was adopted to safeguard nesting females and hatchling sea turtles from the adverse effects of artificial light, and to further protect them from injury or harassment.
- 2. In 2004 the Code was amended to require the nightly removal (during nesting season) of beach furniture, tents, cabanas and other temporary structures that pose an entanglement hazard or obstacle to nesting or hatching sea turtles.
The Marine Turtle Protection Code is enforceable within the city of Sarasota (including Lido Key) and the unincorporated portions of Sarasota County (Siesta, Casey and Manasota Keys). For the latest version of the Marine Turtle Protection Code visit:
- Municode (Sarasota County Code of Ordinances, Chapter 54, Article XXIII)