Sea turtle season off to slow start in NE Florida

Published On: Jul 03 2014 09:54:46 AM EDT
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -

Sea turtle season has gotten off to a slow start in northeast Florida, especially among green turtles.

Wildlife officials say only 195 nests have been located so far this year, compared to 367 that were spotted by early July 2013. In addition, only two green turtle nests have been discovered this year, compared to 11 at the same time last year.

"In general, we seem to be having a down year," said Tara Dodson, an environmental supervisor for the St. Johns County Habitat Conservation Section.

She says numerous factors could be affecting the county's 41 miles of coastline. "We really don't know," she added.

Some say the low numbers could be the result of an unseasonably chilly April.

"Summer weather did come late this year," Dodson said. "We still might see the numbers jump again."

Some parts of Florida are seeing higher numbers of turtle nesting, said Annie Meylan, who as a senior research scientist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission oversees statewide nesting surveys.

"What we're seeing now is a lot of mixed results statewide, but in the northeast it's certainly not as good a season as it was last year," Meylan said.

In southeast Florida many loggerhead turtles have already started nesting, Meylan said.

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