SARASOTA, Fla. (SNN TV) - Florida sets a record for loggerhead turtle nests, but on the Suncoast, the nests have decreased from last year.

Preliminary data show 133,414 loggerhead nests in Florida as of Aug. 31, according to the Herald-Tribune. That breaks the previous annual record of 122,707 in 2016.

Mote Marine Laboratory's Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program monitors 35 miles of beaches in Sarasota and Manatee counties. They reported a decrease in nests in Sarasota and Manatee counties, from 4,373 in 2022 to close to 4,097 in 2023. They also reported an increase in false crawls, which is when a female turtle crawls onto the beach to lay a nest but returns to the water because she's either disturbed or couldn't find a suitable nest site.

Hurricane Idalia washed out 64 of the 76 nests which were in Manatee County at the time.

To keep beaches turtle-friendly, Mote Marine gives the following tips:

  • Stay away from seat turtle nests marked with yellow stakes and tape.
  • Remain quiet and observe from a distance if you encounter a nesting sea turtle or hatchlings.
  • Turn off outdoor lights that are visible on the beach from May through October.
  • Don’t use flashlights, headlamps, or fishing lamps on the beach.
  • Don’t use fireworks on the beach.