Tourists warned not to tamper with nesting turtles on Anna Maria Island

Tourists marking sea turtles nest
Posted at 5:57 PM, Jun 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-21 17:57:36-04

Sea turtle nesting season is happening right now in the Tampa Bay area, but members of the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch Club are noticing a disturbing trend. They said tourists are marking the nest by writing in the sand which disturbs the nest and the data the group uses to monitor the turtles.

"They walked all over all the critical signs that we need to make that decision and I don't think people are doing this to be mean they think they are being helpful, but it's hurting it," said club director Suzi Fox.

She said tourists and residents should stay about one-hundred feet away from the nests. She also said people should take pictures at night, because the flash bothers the turtles.

"They can still nest and live amongst us but we gotta share properly," said Fox.

Holmes Beach Police Chief Willaim Tokajer said his officers are monitoring the dozens of nests on the beach. He said they will issue warnings or fines if anyone is caught tampering with the nests.

"Some people don't know they are hurting them and some people don't care," said Tokajer.

Sea Turtle nesting season last until the end of October.

"You can still enjoy the turtles, but please do it from a distance," said Fox.