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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Sea Turtle Nesting Season

Carole, the endangered sea turtle foul-hooked off the Okaloosa Fishing Pier on July 5, is recovering, thanks to the combined efforts of the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center, Pier staff, and several local fishermen.

The angler who accidentally caught Carole correctly left her on the line so she could be led to shore, allowing C.A.R.E. Center staff to remove two fishing rods and five pounds of debris, including parts of a tire, from the 217-pound loggerhead. 

This rescue comes shortly after the C.A.R.E. Center’s successful rehabilitation of four sea turtles also caught at local fishing piers, on June 29. To support their efforts, the Okaloosa Island Pier is asking the public to follow three simple tips during nesting season: 

One—give them space. It’s illegal to come within 50 yards of a sea turtle.

Two—leave no trace. Clear a path to the shore by taking all of your belongings, flattening sandcastles and filling in holes before you leave. 

Three—use red or amber flashlights. Artificial lights can lead sea turtles to danger, as they use moonlight to navigate to the safety of the water. 

“All species of sea turtle are endangered so we are passionate about doing everything we can to help these animals,” says Patrick Berry, Director of the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center.

If you see any disturbance to a turtle or nest, please call the FWC at 1.888.404.3922. For more information, visit

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