Good year for sea turtles on Florida Coast25/10/2012 17:05:13 Strong 2012 nesting season for Florida loggerheads
October 2012. Loggerhead sea turtle nesting was near a 24-year high along Florida beaches this year, according to data compiled by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) researchers. The loggerhead is listed federally as a threatened species.
58,000 loggerhead nests
"After a steep decline in Florida loggerhead nesting between 1998 and 2007, nesting has risen over the past five years," said Dr. Blair Witherington, FWC research scientist. "We're pleased to see this increase, but we recognize that loggerheads, and other sea turtle species, still face many challenges."
As hatchlings will continue to emerge from nests through November, people are asked to stay at a distance if they spot sea turtles on the beach. People are also asked to remove beach furniture and other objects from the beach at night so there is a clear path for hatchlings to make it to the water.
In the U.S., 90 percent of all loggerhead nesting occurs in Florida, the majority of which takes place along the state's east coast. The loggerhead is the most common sea turtle species to nest in Florida.
The extensive data collection is made possible with the help of hundreds of surveyors from conservation organizations, universities and federal, state and local governments along with private volunteers. These and other partners also provide data to FWC researchers through the Statewide Nesting Beach Survey, which documents all sea turtle nesting in Florida.
Leatherback turtles also had a good year, with some 515 nests counted. Photo courtesy of FWC