Turtle turnout: Lowest in 21 years

By Althea Paul - email
Posted by Rachel Leigh- email

BOCA RATON, FL (WFLX) - Turtle turnout on local beaches is dropping dramatically and sparking serious concern among specialists.

It's the lowest number of turtles birthed over the past 21 years; that's when specialist started keeping numbers.

Specialist reported their final turtle nesting season numbers Sunday. So far, Boca Raton beaches have seen 361 loggerheads, 21 leatherbacks and 67 green turtles. Compare that to the early 1990s when Boca Raton beaches saw upward of 900 to 1,000 turtles a year. So far, in 2009, they've only had 535, including loggerheads, leatherbacks, green turtles and other types of turtles.

Specialists say it's hard to find one factor to blame for the low turtle turnout: a phenomenon being seen around the nation.

Commercial fishing, beach development and pollution are some of the biggest human factors involved. Beach erosion can also play a part.

Experts add people still need to be educated when it comes to turtle nesting season which ends October 31.