Date: February 10, 1999
Contact: Dan Evans
Phone: (352) 373-6441
A recent decision by Pompano Beach to dim lights shining on the beach is being applauded by CCC. The CCC works with coastal counties and cities to strengthen regulations protecting sea turtles from the harmful affects of artificial lighting, which annually kills hundreds of sea turtle hatchlings by causing them to crawl inland toward the light rather than toward the sea.
“The City Commission’s action is a positive step towards reducing the problem of artificial lighting on sea turtle nesting beaches,” said CCC Education Coordinator Dan Evans. “Hopefully other incorporated coastal areas in Broward County will follow suit.”
Many coastal businesses fear that lighting ordinances will make their establishment less visible to tourists. Evans said the ordinance should not negatively affect businesses since ordinances do not require lights to be turned off all together, but requires lights not to shine on the beach. Some lights may need to be turned off, but most lights can be redirected or lowered to avoid causing problems for sea turtles.
According to Evans, many businesses on other turtle nesting beaches with lighting ordinances have successfully continued to attract costumers and may even have seen an increase in the number of visitors by being “turtle friendly”.
“Businesses and sea turtles can survive together, it does not have to be an us or them situation,” Evans said.
During the past decade, scientists have determined that hatchling sea turtles are attracted to artificial beachfront lights when they emerge from the nest. If the beach isn’t dark enough, hatchling sea turtles become disoriented and often wander into parking lots or out into roads, where they eventually die.
The Sea Turtle Conservancy, formerly known as the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization based in Florida with offices and projects in several other locations. The Sea Turtle Conservancy is the oldest and most accomplished sea turtle organization in the world. Since its founding in 1959, the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s work has greatly improved the survival outlook for several species of sea turtles. The Sea Turtle Conservancy has as its mission the protection of sea turtles and the habitats upon which they depend. To achieve its mission, the Sea Turtle Conservancy uses research, habitat protection, public education, community outreach, networking and advocacy as its basic tools. These tools are applied in both international and domestic programs focusing on geographic areas that are globally important to sea turtle survival. For more information, visit the STC website atwww.conserveturtles.org or call (800) 678-7853.