Q: Is all the beach lighting on Gulfport’s beach turtle-friendly?
A: No. Here’s what Gulfport city manager Jim O’Reilly said:
“As the Gabber is aware and has previously articulated very well in print, the State of Florida considers any beach facing saltwater a possible nesting site, even Gulfport Beach. The utilization of "turtle friendly" lighting is intended not to confuse turtles trying to make it to the water.
“At present, the minimal city beach lighting and the residential/commercial lighting along Shore Boulevard would not be considered ‘turtle friendly’. ‘Turtle-friendly’ lighting requires specific shielding and a reduction in the specific apogee of the lights bearing aware from the shore line; criteria would need to be met to protect the turtle hatchlings immediately following their hatching as they begin their quest to return to the sea.
“If it is found that Loggerhead turtles or even Kemp's Ridley turtles have determined Gulfport Beach as an appropriate nesting site, such as found on the Gulf beaches of Long Key (St. Pete Beach), and such nests found and identified, city staff will take appropriate action – and, if needed, propose appropriate beach lighting standards for city council's consideration.”