Captiva has shattered its nest record with 240 loggerhead nests laid so far this season. The previous record was set in 2016 with 194 nests. Sanibel is having a strong season with 598 nests, but may not surpass the record of 650 set in 2017.

Over the past five years, the turtle team documented an average of 785 per year, up from previous annual counts as shown on the chart below, which may indicate recovery.

Conservation efforts include federal protection through the listing of sea turtles as threatened and endangered species, federal laws requiring turtle excluder devices on commercial fishing vessels as well as state laws in Florida protecting sea turtles from harvest and requiring permits to interact with them. Statewide nest protection efforts, local beach lighting ordinances, and the cumulative impact of more public education on keeping beaches sea turtle friendly have also improved habitat for nesting.

As of this week, 146 nests have hatched on our beaches and more than 8,000 hatchlings have reached the sea already this year. Hatching will continue through October. Last year set a new record for the number of hatchlings, with more than 48,400 making it to sea.

Don’t forget: May through October is sea turtle nesting season, so please keep our beaches sea turtle friendly:

  • Turn off or shield all lights that are visible from the beach. Do not use flashlights or cell phone lights on the beach. If necessary, use amber or red LED bulbs.
  • Do not disturb the screens covering nests. They prevent predators from eating the eggs and the hatchlings emerge through the holes without assistance.
  • Remove all beach furniture and equipment from the beach at night.
  • Dispose of fishing line properly to avoid wildlife entanglement.
  • Fill in large holes that can trap hatchlings and nesting sea turtles.
  • Do not disturb nesting turtles – please do not to get too close, shine lights on, or take flash photos of nesting sea turtles.
  • Pick up litter.