The nesting season of the endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles has drawn to a close in a remarkable fashion. Records show that 190 Kemp’s ridley nests have been confirmed on the Texas coast including (north to south in state): Bolivar Peninsula 5 Galveston Island 6 Brazoria County, just north of Surfside 1 Surfside Beach 2 Quintana Beach 1 Matagorda Island 13 San Jose Island 4 Mustang Island 5 North Padre Island 102, including 91 at Padre Island National Seashore South Padre Island 40 Boca Chica Beach 11
The 190 nest total exceeds the previous record of 128 Kemp’s ridley nests found in Texas set during 2007. This marks the fifth consecutive year that record numbers of Kemp’s ridley nests have been recorded in Texas since record keeping began in 1980.
So far this year, 2 green sea turtle nest has been confirmed on the Texas coast with one found at the Padre Island National Seashore and one at South Padre Island.
One leatherback sea turtle nest has been confirmed on the Texas coast at the Padre Island National Seashore setting a record of being the first nest found on the Texas coast in 30 years.
The annual Texas/federal closure of shrimping which began May 15 will end July 15, 30 minutes after sundown. Texas Parks and Wildlife states that “the purpose of the closed Gulf season is to protect brown shrimp during their major period of emigration from the bays to the Gulf of Mexico until they reach a larger, more valuable size before harvest and to prevent waste caused by the discarding of smaller individuals.”
The closure also benefits sea turtles migrating, foraging and nesting in Texas waters. Sea Turtle Restoration Project has asked NOAA’s law enforcement branch to board shrimp boats and look for any boats not using Turtle Excluder Devices from July 15 on. Shrimp boats from the entire Gulf come to Texas when the closure ends and puts sea turtles at further risk.