Sea Turtle Nesting Season Here Again

POSTED: 03/23/11 11:51 AM

St. Maarten – Sea Turtle Nesting Season has begun again. The season runs between March and November. Female sea turtles return at that time to lay their eggs on the major nesting beaches of Simpson Bay, Guana Bay, and Gibbs Bay. There are three sea turtles which nest on St. Maarten beaches, including the Green Sea Turtle and the largest sea turtle species, the Leatherback.

“Sea turtles have existed for well over 180 million years, even before the dinosaurs. St. Maarten is one of the few places in the region that has a nesting population of sea turtles, so we should do all that we can to protect their nesting areas,” Nature Foundation Marine Park Manager Tadzio Bervoets said.

Sea turtle population numbers have plummeted to dangerously low numbers throughout the past century due to human impacts, bringing many species close to extinction, causing them to be listed as critically endangered. In order to reverse this trend, all sea turtle species are now protected by international laws and treaties as well as local laws. Article 16 and 17 of the Nature Conservation Ordinance St. Maarten it is illegal to kill, wound, capture, pick-up and/or have animals that belong to a protected animal species, to directly or indirectly disturb their environment resulting in a physical threat or damage to the fauna or to commit other acts which result in disturbance of the animal. It is also forbidden to upset an animal belonging to a protected species, to disturb, damage or destroy its nest, lair, or breeding place, as well as to take the nest of such an animal. It is also forbidden to pick-up or to destroy the eggs of animals belonging to a protected species. The St. Maarten Nature Foundation actively manages the sea turtle population on St. Maarten, particularly during the nesting season.

“We conduct various activities with regards to nesting females including beach surveys, nest excavations, tagging activities, and nest success research. However we do rely heavily on volunteers to assist us and welcome any volunteers who would be interested. Beach communities in particular are in the best position to help ensure that females nest safely, that nests are left undisturbed and that hatchlings make it safely to sea”, Bervoets said.

The Nature Foundation asks that people do not drive on the nesting beaches and that they walk their dog on a leash. To report nesting activity or illegal activity, please call the Sea Turtle Hotline 9229 or call the Nature Foundation office at 544-4267 or email the Foundation at


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