Within one week, three adult loggerhead sea turtles have washed ashore dead on Anna Maria Island.
“One is a month is not normal, so three in a week implies it could be red tide,” Suzi Fox, Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring executive director said Aug. 12.
Former Holmes Beach Commissioner John Monetti and wife Rejane spotted one that washed ashore early Aug. 12 while they were walking along the beach in Holmes Beach.
“The smaller part of its head fell off as I watched it come ashore,” Monetti said. “Pretty gross.”
Fox said she contacted Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, but “they said they have enough dead turtles to take samples.”
She said scientists at the with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Fish and Wildlife Research Institute will determine if red tide is the cause of the recent deaths.
Fox said AMITW collected data from the dead turtles, including species, measurements and tag information, to share with research institutes around the state, then public works in each municipality buried the deceased turtles.
“We are just data collectors,” Fox said. “The scientists will determine is this is in fact red tide.”
To report sick, injured, entangled or dead sea turtles or shorebirds contact the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.
For more information about AMITW, contact Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org or 941-778-5638.
— ChrisAnn Silver Esformes