[Federal Register: September 1, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 171)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 53222-53223]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

Endangered Species; Establishment of Manatee Protection Areas

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking and request for comments.


SUMMARY: The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is considering the 
preparation of a draft rule that would establish additional protection 
areas for the endangered West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus 
latirostris) within the area of the species' range. These protection 
areas would be either refuges, areas where waterborne activities are 
restricted, or sanctuaries, areas where waterborne activities are 
prohibited. The Service is considering this action as a means to reduce 
the level of watercraft-related incidental take of manatees.

DATES: We must receive your comments regarding this proposed rulemaking 
on or before October 16, 2000.

ADDRESSES: Submit written comments to the Field Supervisor, 
Jacksonville Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6620 
Southpoint Drive, South, Suite 310, Jacksonville, Florida 32216 or via 
electronic mail to fw4__es__jacksonville@fws.gov. Comments and 
materials received in response to this proposal will be available for 
public inspection at this address during normal working hours from 8 
a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Benjamin, Jacksonville Field 
Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6620 Southpoint Drive, South, 
Suite 310, Jacksonville, Florida 32216, Telephone: (904) 232-2580 
extension 106, Facsimile: (904) 232-2404, or Electronic Mail: 

[[Page 53223]]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The establishment of protection areas for 
the Florida manatee is provided for under regulations promulgated under 
the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as amended in 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.), and published in Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, 
Part 17, Subpart J. The Service may, by regulation issued in accordance 
with 5 U.S.C. 553 & 43 CFR part 14, establish manatee protection areas 
whenever there is substantial evidence showing such establishment is 
necessary to prevent the taking of one or more manatees (50 CFR 
17.103). The ESA prohibits the taking of endangered species. ``Take'' 
as defined by the ESA means ``to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, 
wound, kill, trap, capture, collect, or to attempt to engage in any 
such conduct.''
    There are two types of manatee protection areas which may be 
established: manatee refuges and manatee sanctuaries. A manatee refuge, 
as defined in 50 CFR 17.102, is an area in which the Director has 
determined that certain waterborne activities would result in the 
taking of one or more manatees, or that certain waterborne activities 
must be restricted to prevent the taking of one or more manatees, 
including but not limited to a taking by harassment. The designation of 
an area as a refuge results in the restriction of waterborne access. A 
manatee sanctuary is an area in which the Director has determined that 
any waterborne activity would result in the taking of one or more 
manatees, including but not limited to a taking by harassment. The 
designation of an area as a sanctuary results in the prohibition of all 
waterborne activities. A waterborne activity is defined as including, 
but not limited to, swimming, diving (including skin and SCUBA diving), 
snorkeling, water skiing, surfing, fishing, the use of water vehicles 
and dredging and filling activities.
    The Service proposes to evaluate the need for establishment of 
protection areas. The Service may subsequently establish such 
protection areas if and where warranted. Areas under consideration for 
possible designation as either refuges or sanctuaries include, but may 
not be limited to, areas of importance to manatees such as warm water 
refuges; areas used for feeding, mating, calving, resting, or 
traveling; areas with a high incidence of watercraft-related manatee 
mortality; and areas in which the Service determines that the current 
protection measures are inadequate.
    Persons wishing to provide relevant information and comments 
regarding our evaluation of the need for manatee refuges and 
sanctuaries and the establishment of such protection areas should 
submit such comments in writing to the address above.
    Our practice is to make comments we receive on this rulemaking, 
including names and home addresses of respondents, available for public 
review during regular business hours. Individual respondents may 
request that we withhold their home address from the rulemaking record, 
which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. There also may be 
circumstances in which we would withhold from the rulemaking a 
respondent's identity, as allowable by law. If you wish us to withhold 
your name and/or address, you must state this prominently at the 
beginning of your comments. However, we will not consider anonymous 
comments. We will make all submissions from organizations or 
businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as 
representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, available 
for public inspection in their entirety.

    Dated: August 24, 2000.
H. Dale Hall,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 00-22422 Filed 8-31-00; 8:45 am]