Water-Related News

Sea turtles dying in ‘unprecedented numbers’

Poor water quality is proving fatal to an "unprecedented number" sea turtles in local waters.

"Since the beginning of the current red tide bloom in October 2017, 91 sea turtles have been found stranded on the beaches or in waters surrounding Sanibel and Captiva; 58 were dead and 33 were found alive and taken to CROW for treatment," a release from the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation states. "The continuous 10 month red tide has impacted an unprecedented number of sea turtles. Over 50 have stranded on Sanibel and Captiva this June and July alone.

"Of the 91 strandings since October, 53 have been mature adults, representing a significant impact on a recovering population of animals where only one in 1,000 hatchlings survive to reach reproductive maturity at around 25-30 years of age. Nineteen of these turtles (9 of which have washed up in the third week of July) have been the critically endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtle, a rare sighting on area beaches."

Tissue and gut samples are being tested for neurotoxins produced by red tide algal blooms.