6 Tips for Protecting Our Local Marine Species
You love our local area in Bradenton, Sarasota and Palmetto for its pristine beaches, but it’s also known for its wonderful marine species, especially sea turtles and manatees. Though, it’s important to remember that these local beaches are home to these endangered species as well. Here are helpful tips to keep in mind to ensure we’re protecting our local marine species:
1. Obey the waterway signs.
Waterway signs do not solely exist for boaters’ safety, but they are for the manatees’ safety, too. Obeying the speed limit ensures that you slow down when necessary so that you have a clear view of the water and do not see any manatees before proceeding.
2. Steer clear from shallow waters when possible.
When boating, remain in deep waterways because manatees tend to feed in shallow seagrass beds. In addition, try not to anchor your boats in these areas and in coral reefs because these areas are often habitats for sea turtles.
3. Do not offer food to manatees.
When you see manatees, do not feed them or try to lure them to you. When you lure manatees to you, this increases the chance that they will get caught in watercraft traffic, which could put them at risk.
4. Pick up after yourself before leaving the beach.
Trash is one of the major threats to local marine species since they can mistake floating trash in the water for food, which can block their intestines. Make sure your bring a bag with you so that you can collect all of your trash.
5. The same goes for fishing.
Do not leave any stray fishing lines or nets behind as local marine species as well as birds can get entangled and trapped.
6. Pack a red or yellow flashlight when taking an evening beach stroll.
In the evenings, this is prime nesting time for sea turtles. Lights that are too bright can disturb this process and cause them to be deterred from going to the ocean. This also goes without saying that you should not disturb turtles, especially baby sea turtles because our hands carry chemicals than are poisonous to them.