Manatees may be reclassified from "Endangered" to "Threatened"

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 6:18 pm

SARASOTA, Fla. -- While boaters on the Suncoast celebrate the Labor Day weekend on the water-- many are aware of speed zones to ensure Manatee safety from collisions with boats.

"It’s not a race out here; you're not racing to get anywhere. You’re just having a good time and you need to pay attention to the water."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service is now considering changing the manatee's status from endangered to threatened, and is looking for public input before making a decision. Critics of the current endangered designation say manatees are important to Florida’s tourism and environment--but the species has recovered sufficiently over the last 4 to 5 decades to be reclassified.

As it stands now, sea cows' endangered status puts speed limits on boaters, and some regulations on fishermen.

Avid boater Aaron Burkett says the focus of safety for manatees shouldn’t change even if the classification does.

"I wear polarized glasses, I go real slow. I see a manatee zone that I know from being in and out of the channels that they prevalently hang out; I just keep an eye out for them. I take a proactive approach.”

Boater Darrell Seitz says because the manatee population is recovering-- he trusts that state wildlife agencies will ultimately make the right decision.

“I think the FWC knows what’s best for them and plus the studies out there at Mote Marine—they know best and I’ll gladly abide by the rules or laws if they have one.

And Darrell has a piece of advice for boaters no matter what.

"I think when people are out anchored up someplace or out there swimming, leave them alone. Don’t swim up on them. Let them go their way and don't harass them."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service is accepting public comments until Tuesday. A decision on the status change won't come until officials complete their review, which could take up to a year.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.

Right Now

weather

Today

weather
88°
Details

Tomorrow

weather
83°
Details

Today

weather
90°
Details

Today

weather
85°
Details
Cool Today

SUBMIT PHOTOS & VIDEOS | VIEW ALL PHOTOS & VIDEOS

Send your photos & videos to Pix@MySuncoast.com and you could be featured on ABC 7 & our website.