Lewis Jackson Sr. must also serve 156 hours of community service — one hour for each egg taken — at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island, The Florida Times-Union reported.
“I think you’ll develop some respect for that particular endangered species,” Chief U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood told Jackson at his sentencing.
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center treats and rehabilitates injured turtles found along the Atlantic coast.
About a year ago, Georgia wildlife agents discovered that someone had disturbed turtle nests on Sapelo Island.
Officers then intercepted the Sapelo Island ferry on May 27, 2012. A K-9 trained to detect wildlife items was used to search passengers and Jackson was apprehended.
Sea turtle eggs are prized by some as a purported aphrodisiac and a food delicacy.
Prosecutors say there was evidence that Jackson planned to sell them.
Moments before Jackson was given the prison time and community service, Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Gilluly Jr. requested that the judge send a message in sentencing him.
“I would ask your honor to send a message to this community that it is a crime to steal turtle eggs and there are consequences,” he said.