Florida Manatee - Issues and Information
Manatee Myth: Florida Manatee - Native to Florida?
Federal Manatee Protection Areas (Refuges & Sanctuaries)
2012 Revised Florida and Antillean Manatee Stock Assessments Available
Manatee swims near Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge
Photo: Keith Ramos, USFWS
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced the availavility of its 2012 marine mammal stock assessment reports (SAR) for the two West Indian manatee sub-species: the Antillean manatees in Puerto Rico and the Florida manatee. The reports assess the manatee population status within the context of fisheries.
The formal Notice of Availability published on Thursday, January 23, 2014, in the Federal Register. A 90-day public review and comment period closed on June 26, 2013.
Comments and supporting information that was submitted during this period, as well as the final reports are available online via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Search for Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2012-0081.
IMPORTANT NOTE: A Tampa Bay Times article published January 23, 2013 by Craig Pittman contained an error in fact. In the third paragraph the reference to 99 commercial fisheries deaths is incorrect. As stated in the report, there has been a five-year average of 99 human related deaths per year (Table 1, pg 17); none of which were tied to commercial fisheries operations.
Thus, within the context of this fisheries focused report, lethal take of Florida manatees from commercial fisheries activities is obviously well below the calculated Potential Biological Removal (PBR) number of 14.98 (pg 3).
As noted in the Service spokesperon's interview with Mr. Pittman, this report acknowledges there remain other human and natural threats but only focused its conclusions within the fisheries context as required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).
The report and list of references is available below.
2012 Florida manatee SAR - PDF - 472KB
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Improves Manatee Protection in King's Bay
Female manatee and nursing calf.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today finalized a proposal to improve protections for manatees in Citrus County, including establishing a year-round manatee refuge in Kings Bay, its tributaries, and adjoining water bodies upstream of the confluence of Kings Bay and Crystal River. In the winter, Kings Bay’s warm water springs host the largest natural concentration of manatees in Florida.
The final rule establishing the manatee protection area in Kings Bay will help provide greater protection to manatees – including protections from collisions with boats – while providing continuing opportunities for manatee viewing, recreation, and boating activities that are important to the local community near Kings Bay.
12-Month Warranted Finding on a petition to revise critical habitat for the Florida manatee
Manatee Stock Assessment Reports (SAR)
2011 Florida Manatee Project Key Programmatic Assessment