Help Sea Turtles Survive Every Time You Drive

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The Sea Turtle Specialty License Plate is the primary source of funding for Florida’s Marine Turtle Protection Program. It also supports the Sea Turtle Grants Program, which has awarded more than $2.5 million for sea turtle research, conservation and education in Florida since 2001. For more information about the Sea Turtle Specialty License Plate, visit HelpingSeaTurtles.org.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center was awarded $14,218 in grant funding from the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s Marine Turtle Grants Program in 2013. The funds from the grant will be used to purchase new survey equipment and introduce technology into how each sea turtle is documented. Using GPS, smartphones and Bluetooth tag scanners, LMC biologists will be able to increase the efficiency of each leatherback sea turtle encounter. Large amounts of high-quality data can be collected and immediately transmitted to the field supervisor in the office, with field biologists having real-time access to past records of each individual they encounter. These technologies will streamline surveying efforts on this extremely important leatherback nesting beach.

History
In 1995, a statewide effort was initiated by the non-profit Sea Turtle Conservancy, formerly Caribbean Conservation Corporation, to establish a Florida Sea Turtle Specialty License Plate to provide a permanent funding source for the state’s Marine Turtle Protection Program. Thanks to the efforts of STC and other Florida sea turtle groups, in 1997, the Florida Legislature (Statute 320.08058 (19)) authorized the creation of a Sea Turtle Specialty License Plate to promote the conservation and protection of Florida’s sea turtles.

The Sea Turtle License Plate was first offered for sale in February 1998 and quickly became one of the most popular specialty plates in Florida, raising over $1 million annually. At just $23.00 per tag, the turtle plate is also one of the more moderately priced specialty plates in Florida. Funds from the initial purchase are distributed to the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to conduct sea turtle protection, research and recovery programs.

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