Clearwater Beach, Florida -- The number of sea turtle nests found on the Pinellas beaches this season has reached a record number.

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which monitors nesting activity along the 26-mile coastline, says crews have counted 196 nests so far this season.

They are surprised by the high number because of Tropical Storm Debbie, which had disturbed or destroyed so many nests weeks ago.

The aquarium says our area averages about 120 nests per season and each nest can contain an average of 100 to 110 eggs.

About 60,390 sea turtle hatchling have been released into the Gulf of Mexico by the CMA staff and volunteers since 2005, CMA said.

The nesting season starts in May and runs through the end of October.

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