As sea turtle nesting season has officially concluded on Florida’s Southwest coast as of Oct. 31, Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation & Research Program (STCRP), which patrols 35-miles from Longboat Key to Venice of beaches each day of nesting season (May 1-Oct. 31) reports their findings for another record-breaking nesting season.
Throughout the season, STCRP recorded a total of 4,284 (compared to the current record of 5,112 in 2019) nests across all sea turtle species—4,091 loggerhead nests and 193 green nests. The program also documented the highest numbers of sea turtle nests specifically, the highest number of green turtle nests ever on Venice.
Even though Hurricane Idalia impacted beaches towards the end of the season, its impact on nesting was low with 75% of nests completing their incubation prior to the storm’s arrival. The majority of the remaining nests were washed out by the storm, however, sea turtles have a natural instinct to nest several times in one season offsetting natural events.
The success of recent nesting seasons could be a result of the long-standing program and local engagement, giving the next generation of sea turtles a better chance.
“Science-based sea turtle conservation is critical for maintaining endangered and threatened species populations,” said Dr. Michael P. Crosby, Mote President & CEO. “Mote translates and transfers the interwoven science of our Sea Turtle Conservation and Research program, Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital and Strandings Investigations Research program to protect and rehabilitate these animals and their habitats. An example of a highly visible outcome of our work is the recently established voluntary Sea Turtle Protection Zone for boaters in our local waters.”
Senior Biologist and Conservation Manager Melissa Macksey is thrilled to see these numbers continue to rise and is excited to see a growth in these sea turtle species populations. In particular, green sea turtle nesting numbers which have dramatically increased in the last decade. This species recovery in the Gulf of Mexico shows conservation efforts are working and should be maintained.