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Sea turtle nesting season begins May 1

April 7, 2022

PSA: Leave our precious sea turtles ALONE! Sea turtle nesting season begins May 1. We know they're cute, we know they're pretty...but would you want to be bothered by strangers? We didn't think so...
When our turtles come to Myrtle Beach's shores, they're laying eggs. We want more of these beauties in our oceans, and a successful nest is of utmost importance for this species survival. Do you want to see a sea turtle without risking a $15,000 fine? You can view them at our local aquarium.
The Myrtle Beach Police Department has had reports in prior nesting seasons of people shining flashlights on sea turtles trying to come ashore at night to nest in the sand. Other reports say people on the beach have scared away nesting sea turtles, and tried to take pictures with them. This is nesting season for sea turtles, which are protected by federal law! Do not disturb or threaten sea turtles, our police are looking for you if you do!
If you see a sea turtle in the ocean or on the beach, stay away from it. Do not shine a light on it or otherwise disturb it. Respect sea turtles by viewing these protected animals responsibly. Do not harm, harass, pick up, ride, straddle, restrain, jump over, injure, kill or otherwise disturb sea turtles.
Feeding or touching turtles in any way, including shining a light on them, is considered a disturbance and is illegal. Federal penalties include jail time and fines up to $15,000 for each offense. Our police officers take protecting our sea turtles very seriously.
Sea Turtles are protected under Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973. The animals are also protected under the Marine Turtle Protection Act. The act states that “no person may take, possess, disturb, mutilate, destroy, cause to be destroyed, sell, offer for sale, transfer, molest or harass any marine sea turtle or its nests or eggs at any times.”
Further, turtle hatchlings should not be picked up and placed in the ocean, as they need to crawl on their own to set their navigational compass and increase their chances of survival.