JUNO BEACH, Fla. — Loggerhead Marinelife Center has ended the 2023 sea turtle nesting season with a record-breaking 25,025 nests, the nonprofit said Tuesday.
March 1 to Tuesday, LMC researchers monitored the 9.5-mile stretch of beach in Juno, Jupiter-Carlin Park and Tequesta. They counted approximately 300 sea turtle nests every day during the peak season in June and July.
Three species of sea turtles, all of them threatened or endangered, commonly nest along the beaches in Florida. LMC has documented 216 nests from leatherbacks, 15,672 from loggerheads and 9,137 from green turtles. There are twice as many green sea turtles from 2022.
Boy's Make-A-Wish for sea turtle experience granted at Marine Loggerhead
"This year’s record-breaking numbers are a victory for sea turtle conservation,” Dr. Justin Perrault, vice president of research at Loggerhead Marinelife Center, said in a news release. "With that in mind, it is important to remember that our work is not over, as new threats continue to present themselves to these animals."
LMC credits the milestone achievement for sea turtle conservation to conservation efforts over the past few decades. This includes major changes to fishing regulations in the late 1980s plus standardized monitoring and protection efforts of nesting females and hatchlings on nesting beaches.
Also, the “leave no trace” policy also remains an important practice, which instructs beachgoers to collect all trash and belongings before leaving, and to fill all holes to prevent nesting sea turtles and hatchlings from falling or being hindered as they crawl on the beach.
Despite the record-breaking nesting season, the summer’s exceptionally high heat temperatures resulted in a decrease in the nests reproductive success.
A single nesting season won't dramatically affect the sea turtle population, according to LMC, but the decrease in reproductive success presents new challenges to sea turtle conservationists.
Data on this year’s reproductive success will be available by late November, LMC said.
For more information on sea turtle nesting season, please visit marinelife.org [u7061146.ct.sendgrid.net]