Sea turtle nests protected by state and federal law

English: Legal posting related to sea turtles ...

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There are signs common in Florida and other coastal areas warning of potential fines and imprisonment for various offenses related to endangered sea turtles and their nests. The provisions are fairly specific yet wide-ranging.

Florida state law provides protection against taking, possessing, disturbing, mutilating, destroying or causing to be destroyed, selling or offering for sale, transferring, molesting, or harassing any marine turtle or its nest or eggs at any time.

Federal law provides even greater protection (and criminal penalties as severe as $100,000 and a year in prison) if you “take, harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, or capture any marine turtle, turtle nest, and/or eggs, or attempt to engage in any such conduct.”

Obviously, marine turtles are still on the endangered species list, so they are afforded these protections. We can all easily endorse such a law, recognizing the inherent value of the life of a sea turtle — even realizing that the life in the eggs is something that should be given the same level of protection.


  1. can you please cite the federal law stating the penalties against sea turtles please! Thanks!

  2. Well, just looking at the sign in the photo, I would point you to Florida Law Chapter 370 and the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973.

  3. Thanks, I’m using some of the points you make in a presentation at university so I needed some sources other than the photo. Well done!

  4. Brilliant analysis ! I am currently writing a book entitled: THE CASE AGAINST ABORTION FROM A LEGAL AS WELL AS BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE.

    John Wilder

  5. We are not protecting the turtle egg from the choice of the mother, which is a turtle. If the mother turtle wants to end her pregnancy, I believe we could afford her the same rights, even though again, she is a turtle. I feel a little bit ridiculous comparing turtles to humans, to be honest.

    I also submit to you that if humans where endangered, our laws would be significantly different, from not only abortion but age of consent and many others.

  6. In regards to Norm’s comment I don’t think the intent of the article and closing statements are to compare turtles to humans, but is just an observation of the laws that protect Sea turtles and their eggs, yet a women’s choice to chose death for her unborn baby is protected by law as well. It seems unbalanced that the turtle egg is protected and the unborn baby isn’t.

  7. To me, it is not about the rights of the turtle or human, it goes to the argument about an unborn child not being a human being or afforded the rights as a human. The egg of a sea turtle, the moment it is laid, is protected because it is viewed as a viable turtle, should not our babies also been viewed as humans the moment they are created? The fact it is legal to have a baby delivered to the point of his/her head being the only part not out of the mother and can then can be killed is mind-boggling to me! If that baby is fully delivered and someone kills it, they are a murderer. The fact that someone can be charged with murder in a car accident if an unborn baby is killed, but that same mother has the legal right to kill that same baby… Think about it! Babies have separate DNA, brain wave patterns, blood types,etc. They are growing in the mother’s body, but are not ‘part’ of her body. They are separate human beings with the right to life!

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