By John Morton
An increase of 10 nests, and a decrease of 19 false crawls.
Those are the modest numbers of improvement for the Siesta Key sea turtle population, but improvements nonetheless, as Mote Marine Laboratory released its final numbers that wrap up the 2022 nesting season.
Each year it runs from May 1 to Oct. 31.
On Siesta Key, 2022 saw 531 nests with 584 false crawls. In 2021, those numbers were 521 and 603, respectively. The 2020 numbers here were 465 and 581.
Mote Marine monitors 35 miles of beach in the area, made up of Siesta Key, Longboat Key, Lido Key, Casey Key, and Venice.
Casey Key this year had the most nests at 2,053. Longboat had 1,300, Venice had 494, and Lido 160.
In total, 4,538 nests were located.
Of those numbers, 4,373 were loggerhead sea turtle nests, 163 were green sea turtle nests, one was a Kemp’s Ridley nest, and one was a leatherback nest.
This year’s overall number in the region was a healthy increase compared to 3,786 in 2021 and 3,716 in 2020.
A record amount of 5,112 nests were discovered in the region in 2019. That year, Siesta Key had 711 nests.
Still, the 2022 regional results are among the top five in the 41-year history of Mote’s role in monitoring nests, the organization reports.
Jean Cannon, a Siesta Key Association member who focuses on the environment, was pleased with the results.
“Let’s continue to be good stewards and protect and nurture our environment for marine life, including sea turtles,” she said.
Sea turtles became protected under federal law in 1973.