ENGLEWOOD — Manasota Key is having a record-breaking population boom.
Sea turtles have been nesting on the barrier island like never before — at least since people have been counting.
As of Aug. 27, Coastal Wildlife Club sea turtle patrols recorded 326 green turtle nests this season. That exceeds the previous record of 319 nests, set in 2019.
Turtle patrol volunteer patrols also documented 4,825 loggerhead nests, exceeding the 4,634 loggerhead nests on Manasota Key last year.
Green sea turtles consistently nest bi-annually, so this season, which officially extends from May 1 to Oct. 31, was expected to be a banner year, suggested Zoe Bass. Last season, 154 greens nested on Manasota Key.
Even with the nesting season winding down, volunteers documented three new green sea turtle nests Tuesday morning, she said.
Bass and Wilma Katz are the primary state permit holders overseeing the club’s volunteer sea turtle patrols. Over the years with greater protections and public education, the nesting numbers of the endangered sea turtles have increased.
“People love sea turtles — period,” Bass said.
While not breaking records, other local barrier islands are seeing banner years for sea turtle nesting.