Special Species

Know what to do if you encounter one of our special species.

Sea Turtles

The state of Florida is home to five species of sea turtle, all of which are known to nest in Southwest Florida. Due to habitat encroachment and pollution, turtle populations have dwindled significantly and are now protected under state statutes.

To report a disturbed sea turtle nest or an injured, dead, or harassed sea turtle:
Call: 1-888-404-FWCC (3922)
Cellular phone *FWC or #FWC


Manatees are native to Florida and Lee County has a high concentration of these gentle giants. Manatees migrate to different areas of Lee County seasonally in order to avoid extreme temperatures. Manatees are protected by state and federal regulations. Boaters can help protect manatees by taking some simple precautions.

To report an injured, dead, harassed or orphaned manatee:
Call: 1-888-404-FWCC (3922)
Cellular phone *FWC or #FWC


The small tooth sawfish is a largely unknown species due to few scientific studies and minimal research. Sawfish are more closely related to rays than sharks. All of Lee County has been designated as critical habitat for the sawfish. If caught, sawfish must be released immediately and reported for research purposes.

To report a sawfish sighting:
Email: Sawfish@MyFWC.com
Telephone: (941) 255-7403


Lionfish are native to the South Pacific, but have been sighted in Florida since 1985. Each dorsal spine contains venom that causes pain but is rarely lethal. With few known predators, lionfish pose a serious threat to coastal fisheries throughout Florida.

If sighted, call the nationwide reporting number: 877-STOPANS
If stung, contact the Poison Help Hotline: 800-222-1222


Bottle-nose dolphins are commonly found both inshore and offshore off the coast of Lee County. Dolphins are well known for their intelligence, vocalizations, and communicative abilities. However, they are federally protected and it is illegal to feed or interact with them.


Oysters, clams, and mussels can be harvested recreationally within the state of Florida. Harvesting areas are maintained by the Florida Department of Agriculture, Division of Aquaculture. Lee County Live Shelling Prohibited per 68B-26 F.A.C. This law restricts the harvesting of live shells. There is no live shell harvesting in most of Lee County. This includes sand dollars and star fish. Traditional food items like oysters, hard clams, venus clams, bay scallops and coquinas are excluded. Florida fishing license is required.

View harvesting area status map
To determine the status of harvesting areas call 850-488-5471