Belleair Shore residents complain about turtle nests on their beach

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Some residents are upset that turtle nests were relocated just feet from their home in Belleair Shore. 

A dozen or so turtles nests are now nestled along the beach community. Some are there naturally; others were relocated -- and that has some residents taking their complaints to town leaders.

“We’re doing good work for the turtles," said Clearwater Marine Aquarium CEO David Yates. "We’ve been doing this for many, many years and we really haven’t had any issues.”

A spokesperson for the town of Belleair Shore said it has received complaints from residents who are upset they were never notified before the turtle nests were relocated. But others said, the wildlife is one of the reasons they moved here.

“It’s not commercial, it’s all residential," Beth Pierce said. "Most of us who live here, we chose this lifestyle. That’s why we want to be here. Be around more nature.”

The nests were relocated to Belleair Shore because, according to the aquarium, it’s one of the only beaches in the area that’s not currently being re-nourished, which can be detrimental to a sea turtle's likelihood of survival -- which is already slim.

“The whole process can destroy, likely kill and ruin a nest," Yates explained. "We could have anywhere from 125 to 150 hatchlings in it. So, the process itself is a good thing to do to re-nourish our beaches but it can damage the nest, hence you move the nest. We’ve been doing this 30 years and moved 65 nests for this year."

Of the 65 nests, 14 were relocated to Belleair Shore. There are no plans to move the nests despite the complaints. The eggs are set to hatch in about two months.