A Landmark Victory For Sea Turtles As Enhanced Protection Of Their Habitat Is Designated In The Atlantic Ocean

Beaches along the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Florida support the largest aggregation of nesting loggerhead sea turtles in the world. Within this range is Florida’s Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.

On June 20, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Brevard Barrier Island Area Protection Act designating the southern area of Brevard County, including the entirety of the Refuge, as an Area of Critical State Concern. This Refuge hosts the majority of loggerhead turtle nests in Florida and is also a significant area for green sea turtle nesting in North America.

“While we are pleased the ACSC designation increases protection of this habitat from impacts of development, there is still much more to be done to protect these turtles and their essential beach and in-water habitat areas,” said Elizabeth Fleming, Defenders of Wildlife’s Senior Florida Representative.

Florida’s beaches are home to more than 90% of all sea turtle nesting in the continental United States. Of the world’s seven sea turtle species, five use Florida’s beaches as nesting habitats. All five of these sea turtle species are listed as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, making it especially important to know what you can do to protect these ancient reptiles.

“Beachgoers can have a meaningful impact on the health and well-being of nesting and hatchling sea turtles. Following a few simple yet important tips can save turtles’ lives and safeguard essential habitat for these magnificent creatures,” Fleming continued.

We are currently in the height of sea turtle nesting season for 2023. As of May 31, 2023, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimated 35,495 loggerhead nests; 2,086 green turtle nests; 1,194 leatherback nests; and 10 Kemp’s Ridley nests so far this year. There are usually only a few hawksbill nests documented each year. To help understand the bigger picture of turtle nesting in Florida, here is the complete 2022 nesting season that has been documented by the Commission: 116,765 loggerhead nests; 37,028 green turtle nests; 1,848 leatherback nests; and seven Kemp’s ridleys on Florida beaches.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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