THE bells will be ringing out today as Bundaberg prepares for the return of the nesting turtles to Mon Repos.

Environment Minister Steven Miles said he looked forward to the annual, ancient tradition of ringing the bells which heralds the return of the first turtles of the season.

"When the bells begin to ring across Bundaberg, we know to expect the arrival of the seafarers to Mon Repos beach from now until late March," Dr Miles said.

"Rangers have already noticed a flatback turtle track on the beach which is great news for the community and exciting for those who look forward to the turtles visit".

Bundaberg's Anglican Christ Church will ring its bells with assistance from Junior Turtle Ranger students from St Luke's Anglican School which will begin at 11am.

Bells are also scheduled to peel at St Peter's at Bargara, St John the Divine at Burnett Heads, and St Andrew's and St John's in Bundaberg. They will be joined by a number of school bells.

Dr Miles said the ringing of the church bells was a Scottish tradition which alerted communities to the return of the fishing fleet.

"For Bundaberg, the bell ringing reminds coastal communities to Cut the Glow to Help Turtles Go by turning off outside lighting to keep the night sky dark," Dr Miles said.

"The majority of nesting and hatching occurs at night which makes turtles vulnerable to disturbance and disorientation from artificial lights, negatively impacting on their population.

"Across Bundaberg local businesses are preparing to turn off their advertising lights at night in a show of community support to help turtles survive and thrive."

Dr Miles said 387 loggerheads, seven flatbacks and one green turtle migrated to nest on the Woongarra Coast last year, with the main concentration at Mon Repos beach.

Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said visitors from all over Queensland, Australia and overseas came to Bundaberg because of the turtles.

"People in Bundaberg understand what the turtles bring to our community and how important they are," she said.

"Mon Repos is an iconic eco-tourism attraction and that is why the $10 million the Palaszczuk government has delivered to redevelop the Turtle Centre is so important."

Nightly turtle nesting and hatching tours are on November and March. Visit www.nprsr.qld.gov. au/parks/mon-repos/.



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