Sea turtles are either endangered or threatened (the loggerhead is the only species that has a population high enough to be only threatened in Florida). They are protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 and Florida's Marine Turtle Protection Act (379.2431, Florida Statutes).
Florida Statutes (F.A.C. Rule 68E-1) 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 Commission 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.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) dually review permits for coastal construction under Chapter 62B, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.). that affects Marine Turtles.
The state of Florida developed a model lighting ordinance (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 (1.7Mb)
The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (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 (USFWS) under Section 6 of the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). All activities relating to marine turtles must be authorized under subsection379.2431(1), Florida Statutes.
Guidelines provide instruction to Florida marine turtle permit holders on acceptable research and conservation techniques.