VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Hundreds of sea turtles are descending on Volusia County beaches to lay their eggs.
- Over 920 nests have been recorded so far
- This year could set new nest records
- Florida, Georgia and Carolinas seeing increase
Experts say it's very likely this year will set new records.
"It has been a really, really good year. We do anticipate hopefully breaking our record," said Rob Walsh of Volusia County's Sea Turtle Program.
"The last couple years we've really seen an increase in the average number of nests," he continued.
So far in 2019, 922 nests have been recorded.
"Moms don't nest every single year — they nest either every other or every third (year), so we see spikes and low years, but this spike is definitely a very high one. We are getting closer to our record,” said Samantha McCorkle, who also works with Volusia County's Sea Turtle program.
This year breaks their all-time record of 919 nests set in 2012.
"I think it goes to prove that our habitat conservation plan, which we developed back in 1996, has actually worked, and it's actually been used as a model across the country for other habitat conservation plans," Walsh said.
Volusia County isn't the only area experiencing this year's surge of mother turtles.
During one week last month, the Canaveral National Seashore recorded 234 nests laid in just one night — bringing the total to over 7,600 this year alone.
"It's not just Volusia County, not just Daytona Beach, it's the entire state of Florida, as well as Georgia and the Carolinas -- they are all seeing increases in their nests. Hopefully thats a good sign that the species is making a comeback," said Walsh.
While it is hard for experts to know exactly why this is happening, they hope its a sign of good things to come.
"We won't see those years where we only have 200 nests again, hopefully, but who knows what the turtles are doing, only they know," said McCorkle.
Volusia County sea turtle experts say the biggest thing you can do to help nesting mothers and their hatchlings during this time is to pick up any litter on the beach.
Turtles can get easily distracted by litter and put off course by trash when returning to the ocean.