Florida updates sea turtle nesting totals for 2018

Posted at 8:48 AM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 11:41:36-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Wildlife officials say sea turtles consistently nested on Florida beaches in 2018, despite lingering algae blooms that killed marine life and tropical storms that washed out habitat.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute posted the statewide nesting totals on Tuesday.

More than 91,400 loggerhead nests were found, about 5,000 fewer than in the previous year. Researchers say it's unclear why those turtles' nesting totals can wildly fluctuate year to year.

Green sea turtle nests spike every other year. Roughly 4,500 nests reported in 2018 followed 53,000 nests reported in 2017.

Florida is the only continental U.S. state where leatherbacks regularly nest. This year's total of 949 is up from 663 nests in 2017.

Kemp's ridley and hawksbill turtles nest in smaller numbers in Florida.