Loggerhead turtle found dead off Longboat Key

- Several large loggerhead turtles were recovered from the Gulf waters Thursday by Mote Marine.

A crew that was working on a home on Longboat Key said they spotted the workers trying to get one of the large loggerheads into a gurney and went down to the beach to help. 

Keith Kleppinger said he saw the workers from Mote struggling to pull the turtle in because it was so large, so he and some of his crew helped them carrying it down the beach. 

"It was very sad," Kleppinger told FOX 13. 

This turtle found was an adult female loggerhead, one of three loggerheads found on Longboat Key on Friday. There were 13 turtles recovered by Mote Friday total, said Stephannie Kettle of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. 

They were all transported to Mote Marine where they will undergo necropsies, but red tide is suspected in their deaths, Kettle said. 

"We've had over 100 sea turtles in the last month," Kettle said. They usually see 100-120 sea turtle deaths for the entire year, but that number has already spiked to 220 total in Sarasota and Manatee Counties alone, Kettle said. 

"Not all of them can be attributed to red tide, but many can," Kettle said.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said as of August 20, 588 stranded sea turtles have been documented in Manatee Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier Counties, 318 of those attributed to red tide.

Mote along with FWC also recovered a dead manatee on Longboat Key Friday, which will be transported to an FWC lab for a necropsy.

Over the past few weeks, thousands of fish, turtles, dolphins and even sharks have died because of the red tide algae along the coasts of Sarasota and Manatee Counties. 

More than 100 tons of dead fish have washed up along the shorelines.

The Karenia brevis algae has now been detected in higher concentrations drifting north into Pinellas County, according to a report released Wednesday. The report noted, though, that the bloom might have trouble moving any further north over the next few days.

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