Sea Turtles of the Southeast

Sea turtles are air-breathing reptiles with streamlined bodies, relatively large flippers, and either hard or relatively soft shells.  They are well-adapted to life in the ocean.  They live in tropical oceans and even cooler waters near the poles.  Although sea turtles live most of their lives in the ocean, adult females must return to beaches to lay their eggs on land.  They often travel long distances between feeding grounds and nesting beaches.

There are 6 sea turtles species found in the United States.  Only 5 species are found in the Southeast Region: hawksbill, Kemp's ridley, leatherback, green, and loggerhead.  All sea turtles occurring in U.S. waters are listed under the Endangered Species Act.  NOAA Fisheries and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have joint jurisdiction on sea turtles.  NOAA Fisheries is responsible for sea turtles in the ocean and U.S. Fish and Wildlife is responsible for sea turtles on land.  

Contact Us

Report an injured, hooked, entangled, or stranded sea turtle to the 24-hour hotline
Phone: 1-877-942-5343

For other questions about sea turtles contact:
Dennis Klemm
Phone: 727-824-5312

Learn more about sea turtle biology, distribution, habitat, and threats, as well as ways to protect sea turtles.

Learn more about ways NOAA Fisheries is working with shrimp fishing industry to protect sea turtles through regulations, outreach, and compliance monitoring, as well as the resources (e.g. TED compliance guides) available to shrimp fishing industry.

Learn more about the network of federal, state, and private partners that collect information on and document strandings of sea turtles along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Atlantic coasts.