By Keyonna Summers, Times Staff Writer

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium has observed 200 loggerhead turtle nests so far this year — breaking the record of 195 set in 2003, and it isn’t even the end of the nesting season.

It’s hard to say why, but the high number might be attributed to years of conservation efforts or public awareness, said the aquarium’s sea turtle program supervisor, Mike Anderson.

He said the nests, dug by an unknown number of female loggerheads along the 25 miles of Pinellas County beaches that the aquarium monitors, yielded nearly 3,000 hatchlings.

“It’s pretty exciting. It’s a busy year and we’re still seeing hatchlings coming out,” Anderson said. “All around the state I’ve been hearing there’s some record numbers in other counties too, so it’s just been a good year for loggerheads.”

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Year by year

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium has seen a record number of loggerhead turtle nests already this year, with 200 nests observed and two months still remaining in the nesting season. Here are total numbers for previous seasons:

Year Nests
2003 195
2004 104
2005 105
2006 115
2007 38
2008 108
2009 138
2010 119
2011 89
2012 200 *

Source: Clearwater Marine Aquarium

*As of Aug. 29. Turtle nesting season ends in late October.

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