The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 48 - September 1, 2010


Turtle lighting violations continue

From the September 1, 2010 Issue

SUN PHOTO These loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings were
released in Bradenton Beach on Friday night. About 40
people gathered to witness the flippered hatchlings in a
turtle biathlon, racing down the beach to the Gulf of Mexico,
then paddling through triple overhead waves (about 2 inches)
to get to the sargassum seaweed beds several miles out.

HOLMES BEACH – As turtle nesting winds down on Anna Maria Island, turtle hatching takes the spotlight.

And spotlights, living room lights, parking lot lights, flashlights, headlights and other lights continue to be a problem, according to Suzi Fox, director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shore Bird Monitoring.

Two incidents last week are of particular concern, she said.

Lights were left on in the area where a hatchling was found swimming in a flooded street in Holmes Beach after heavy rains, and a fisherman used lights at night on the beach to catch a shark, both in violation of the city’s lighting ordinance, she said.

Fox plans to spend an evening with Holmes Beach Code Enforcement Officer Nancy Hall looking for beachfront homes and rentals with lights visible from the beach, and for fishermen using lights at night during turtle season, May 1 to Oct. 31.

The two will compare notes on properties that habitually have lights on, Hall said.

“Sometimes when I go out, there’s no light on,” after a Turtle Watch volunteer reports seeing a light, she said, adding that sometimes drapes have been pulled and sometimes guests have checked out and no one else has checked in yet.

While a particular property that frequently has lights on could have been the source of the light that caused the hatchling to lose its way, “None of us knows,” she said. “It could have been something totally different,” even a car at a street end with its headlights on.

Without turtle tracks as evidence of the disorientation, it’s hard to reconstruct what happened, she said.

Hall said she warned the shark fisherman in May against using lights on the beach at night during turtle season, and he told her he was doing research. She requested proof, which he has not provided, and advised him that he could not continue to use lights, she said.

If anyone sees lights on the beach at night from any source during turtle season, Hall advises calling the Holmes Beach police at 708-5807.

Turtle Tom

Turtle Tom

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