Productive Nesting Season for 2010 

Sea turtle nesting season ended on a high note in 2010 at local beaches monitored by Mote, with the highest nest count in nine years for loggerhead sea turtles and a record-breaking count for green sea turtles in Sarasota County.
This year’s high counts by Mote parallel nesting numbers statewide. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the species that regularly nest in Florida had much higher nest counts this year than they averaged over the past 10 years. 
This year’s increase might be part of a turnaround for loggerheads, a threatened species whose nesting declined severely for about a decade on Florida beaches before turning upward in 2008.
“The 2010 turtle season was encouraging, especially for loggerheads,” said Dr. Tony Tucker, Manager of Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program. “After a decade of decline for loggerheads locally and statewide, 2008 gave us some hope and the 2010 season was even better. We hope this trend will continue in the years to come.”
Statewide and in Sarasota, the number of green sea turtles nesting each year is also growing. 
Local nests are monitored closely by Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Patrol, a group of Mote scientists, interns and more than 250 volunteers who monitor nesting each day during nesting season, May 1 – Oct. 31, on 35 miles of Sarasota County beaches.

In 2010, Turtle Patrollers from Venice through Longboat Key found that:

Loggerhead sea turtles laid 1,243 nests in 2010, compared to 952 nests in 2009 and 1,148 nests in 2008.
Green sea turtles laid 14 nests this year in Mote’s patrol area, contributing to a new record of 40 overall for Sarasota County in 2010. Greens typically follow an “every-other-year” nesting pattern, with a year of higher nesting counts followed by a year of lower ones.
One nest was laid by a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, a species that rarely nests in Southwest Florida. Kemp’s ridleys mainly nest on the beaches of Rancho Nuevo, Mexico and Padre Island National Seashore, Texas.

The table below shows Mote’s breakdown of 2010 nesting numbers for each local beach: 

Key Species Nests False Crawls(Coming ashore without laying a nest)
Longboat-Manatee Loggerhead 144 115
Longboat-Sarasota Loggerhead
Lido Beach Loggerhead 17 27
Siesta Key Loggerhead
Casey Key Loggerhead
Kemp’s ridley
Venice Loggerhead
Totals Loggerhead
Kemp's Ridley


Even after a promising year, remember that all sea turtle species are threatened or endangered and they need our help to survive. Page down for a list of turtle-friendly dos and don’ts to keep in mind for nesting season 2011.

Update: Sept.5-Sept.11: No new nests or false crawls this week.

Dos and Don'ts
Turtle nesting season along Florida beaches begins May 1 and ends October 31. Here are some dos and don’ts that people can remember to help clear the way for nesting turtles:

Do: If you encounter a nesting turtle, remain quiet and observe from a distance Shield or turn off outdoor lights that are visible on the beach from May through October Close drapes after dark and put beach furniture far back from the water Fill in holes that may entrap hatchlings on their way to the water Place trash in its proper place

Do Not: Approach nesting turtles or hatchlings, make noise, or shine lights at turtles Use flashlights or fishing lamps on the beach Encourage a turtle to move while nesting or pick up hatchlings that have emerged and are heading for the water Use fireworks on the beach Sea turtles are protected under federal law and any harassment or interference with a sea turtle, living or dead, is subject to penalty. If you witness anyone disturbing a turtle or find an injured or disoriented hatchling or adult, please notify agents with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922), the local sheriff’s department, and/or Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Program at 388-4331. If you find a dead or injured sea turtle contact Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program at 888-345-2335.