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North Florida Field Office

News Release

For Immediate Release

Date: January 8, 2003
Release #: 001-03
Media Contact:
Chuck Underwood, 904-731-3332

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service extends Public Comment Period on Proposed Regulations for the Florida Manatee

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that the closing date for the public comment period on proposed regulations authorizing the incidental, unintentional take of small numbers of manatee has been extended. The comment period was originally scheduled to close on Monday, January 13, but has now been extend an additional two-weeks to Monday, January 27. The formal notice will be published in the Federal Register later this week.

The decision to extend the comment period is in response to requests received from the public, local agencies and the State of Florida.

Comments (COMMENT PERIOD CLOSED) may be mailed, hand delivered, faxed, or submitted electronically. Please mail or deliver comments to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North Florida Field Office, Attn: MMPA Proposal, 6620 Southpoint Drive, Suite 310, Jacksonville, FL 32216-0958. Comments may also be faxed to 904-232-2404. Comments submitted electronically should be embedded in your message or be attached as text files. Please include your name and return mailing address in your email and indicate "MMPA Rule" or "Draft EIS" in the subject line depending on which document your comments address. Send electronic comments to: manatee@fws.gov .

A copy of the proposed regulations and finding, as well as the Draft EIS, fact sheets and Frequently Asked Questions are available via the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/northflorida or may be obtained from the address above, requested by telephone at 904/731-3332, by fax at 904/232-2404, or by e-mail at manatee@fws.gov. (Draft documents no longer available - See final decision)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Services manages the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fish and wildlife management assistance offices, 64 Fishery Resource Offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

-- FWS --

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Last modified January 14, 2004