The first sea turtle nest was spotted on Longboat on April 26, five days before nesting season officially began.
Another turtle season is upon Longboat Key.
Turtle season officially began May 1, but before that, a couple of eager turtles had already nested on the island.
Mote Marine Laboratory spotted the first nest April 26, and the Longboat Key Turtle Watch found its first nest May 2 on the north end of the Key. As of May 6, Longboat was home to five nests.
In the 2018 nesting season, there were a total of 993 nests on Longboat Key, which was a drop from the 1,260 nests in 2017. Several factors could have led to that decrease, such as an increase in disorientation numbers, the island’s wandering coyotes and other animals.
While it’s hard to predict how this year will go, Turtle Watch Vice President Cyndi Seamon said she expects green sea turtles to lay more nests than last year.
“Based on the way green turtles nest, they’ll have an up year, down year, up year, and last year was a down year, so we think we’ll have more green nests this year,” she said. “As far as loggerheads go, we don’t know. We’re always hopeful.”
Already though, one nest has been harmed by a raccoon. However, Seamon said the beach furniture and other obstacles that have caused problems in the past haven’t been bad so far. She said a few sites and owners need reminders, but this year also marks the third for the town’s updated turtle protection ordinances.
Code Enforcement Officer Chris Elbon said the town has some leeway in the enforcement of the rules. Last year, there were 56 lighting violations, 24 obstruction cases and 12 cases of prohibited activities, totaling 92 violations, which was an increase from the 73 cases in 2017.
Sea turtle nesting season continues until Oct. 31.
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