MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - The number of loggerhead sea turtle nests on the South Carolina coast is down sharply this year but apparently there is no cause for concern.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports there have been only about 1,700 loggerhead turtle nests recorded this year compared with a record of almost 5,200 a year ago. The nesting season for the threatened turtles ends in mid-August.

Myrtle Beach State Park ranger Ann Malys Wilson says she's not concerned and it's a natural lull because turtles don't nest every year. She says new federal protections will help protect nests in the future.

Earlier this month almost 700 miles of coastline and nearly 200,000 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico were declared critical turtle habitat by the federal government.

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Information from: The Sun News, http://www.thesunnews.com/