CLEARWATER, Fla. — Keep an eye out when at the beach: Sea turtle nesting season starts Wednesday, May 1. 

The Tampa Bay region averages about 120 sea turtle nests each season, with each holding about 100 eggs, according to a city of Clearwater news release.

People are asked not to disturb them, either marked or unmarked. If a nest is found without any signage, call the Clearwater Marine Aquarium at 727-441-1790.

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Baby turtles find their way to the gulf by looking for and following natural light reflected by the water. If they go the wrong way, they could starve to death before reaching their food source.

Clearwater Beach and Sand Key have a lighting ordinance for residents and private businesses that specifically applies during nesting season. In short, lights need to be shut off or dimmed at night.

The city also advises beachgoers to choose reusable or paper-based items before heading to the beach to reduce single-use plastic pollution.

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