Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sea Turtle Eggs Being Stolen

Since this years sea turtle nesting season began, there have been stories about nests being disturbed and eggs stolen.

The only people legally allowed to handle sea turtles or eggs include those associated with aquariums, marine facilities, museums, conservation societies, research institutions, universities or colleges or those who have obtained proper accreditation and necessary licenses for working with marine reptiles. If you are not working with a respected or accredited organization you will be prosecuted for handling or disturbing sea turtle eggs.

Besides taking eggs, other offenses include any action that kills, harms, or injures marine turtles. It also involves any activity that disturbs the nesting grounds, breeding places, or natural immediate habitat of marine turtles. It is against Florida law to take, disturb, mutilate, destroy, sell, transfer, molest, or harass sea turtles, sea turtle eggs, or sea turtle nests.

It is a felony crime in the state of Florida to disturb sea turtle nests or to remove sea turtle eggs. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has legal authority to investigate any cases of sea turtle poaching, abuse, theft, or disturbance.

Sea Turtles protected by Florida law are: Loggerhead, Green, Leatherback, Hawksbill , and the Ridley Turtle.

Penalties for violating Florida’s, Marine Turtle Protection Act include a fine of $100.00 per egg. Possession of 11 or fewer sea turtle eggs is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor and those charged will face punishment according to Florida law. Second and third offenses may result in prison time and much larger fines.

1 comment:

bobbie said...

It is so sad that anyone would do this. Hopefully, it is youngsters who don't know better yet. (Why haven't their parents taught them?)

I don't understand why the public is permitted to even walk in these areas. I know tourism is a big business and money is involved. But is that really enough to excuse this kind of thing?