May 1 marks the beginning of sea turtle nesting season.
The Leatherback Sea Turtle Nesting Season for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is from May 1 to October 31. The turtles’ eggs hatch July-October and the young turtles crawl back to the ocean November-April.
Leatherback Sea Turtles are an endangered species that can be found throughout the world’s oceans. They are the largest turtle in the world and they have a shell that is made of leathery skin instead of hard shells like other turtles.
Sea turtles are protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 which fines up to $15,000.
The animals are also protected under the Marine Turtle Protection Act. The act states that “no person may take, possess, disturb, mutilate, destroy, cause to be destroyed, sell, offer for sale, transfer, molest or harass any marine sea turtle or its nests or eggs at any times.”
According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, individuals that violate federal law by harming or interfering with sea turtles or their nests can be subject to civil penalties of up to $25,000 and up to a year’s imprisonment.