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Rare Sea Turtles Smash Nesting Records In Southeast US

Jul 13, 2019
Hatching loggerhead sea turtle
Longboat Key Turtle Watch

By Ross Bynum - Associated Press

Rare sea turtles are smashing nesting records this summer on beaches in the Southeast, including Florida, with scientists crediting the egg-laying boom to conservation measures that began more than 30 years ago.

Sargassum
Brian Cousin / Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

By Carrie Pinkard

A dark mass stretches from West Africa to the Gulf of Mexico. It’s slowly growing, and choking the life out of some marine animals.

The mass is a giant seaweed bloom called the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt.

If you went to the beach over the Memorial Day weekend, you may have seen sea turtle nesting areas cordoned off for protection. That's because South Florida is in the midst of sea turtle nesting season, which began in March and ends in October.

Hatching loggerhead sea turtle
Longboat Key Turtle Watch

Loggerhead sea turtles spend most of their lives in the open ocean or shallow coastal waters, but soon thousands of female sea turtles will come ashore to begin their annual rite of spring.

May 1 marks the beginning of sea turtle nesting season on Florida's Gulf Coast.

Mote Marine Laboratory

Sea turtle deaths continue to increase as red tide lingers off Florida's southwestern coast. While the numbers remain steady in Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties, Sarasota is experiencing a spike in cases. 

Wildlife officials want to know who ran over eight sea turtle nests on a South Siesta Key beach.

A loggerhead sea turtle on the beach
FWC

Some of the first sea turtle nests of 2018 are already being discovered by Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Patrol. That’s right. The turtles are coming.

But it isn’t unusual for sea turtle nesting season to begin early, which officially runs May 1 to Oct. 31.

As residents and visitors flock to Florida beaches over the long Fourth of July holiday weekend, wildlife officials and advocates are urging beachgoers to be mindful of nesting shorebird colonies and sea turtles.

Turtle Nesting Season Calls For Citizen Awareness

Mar 2, 2017

Florida is a large nesting site for endangered sea turtles, such as the leatherback. Dr. Robbin Trindell leads the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission sea turtle management program. She warns curious bystanders can inadvertently harm a nesting sea turtle.

Florida wildlife officials are continuing to monitor the aftermath of Tropical Storm Colin and its impact on sea turtle nests across the state. The storm destroyed several hundred nests, but officials say Floridians can help.

Lisa Peakes/WUSF

It's the time of year when wooden stakes and yellow plastic tape are boxing off sections of sand on area beaches.

Turtle nesting season begins this week.

Researchers say sea turtles rebounded from a slump last year to deliver one of the strongest summer nesting seasons on record on beaches from the Carolinas to Florida.