If you have received a manatee zone violation, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service urges you not to ignore it.
This week, federal agents from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement and other state law enforcement agencies will serve multiple federal arrest warrants on individuals who refused to pay or appear in federal court when issued a federal manatee zone citation.
“We have tried to contact these violators without success,” said Officer Bruce Butler, Jr., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Manatee Enforcement Unit. “If they get a citation for speeding, they have more than 30 days after they receive the citation to either pay the collateral amount or appear in federal court to contest the charge.”
The charges range from $100 for the first offense, $200 for a second offense, $500 for a third offense with mandatory appearance. There is an additional $25 fee for court costs added to each collateral amount charge.
Manatees are protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act. Under the provisions of the ESA, the fines range from $125 to a maximum of $25,000 and/or six months imprisonment.
“I have directed my officers, throughout the state, to arrest those violators who have ignored the legal process and bring them before the nearest federal magistrate for a first appearance,” said Resident Agent in Charge Andrew Aloise.
Federal regulations and refuge maps are on the Service’s North Florida website at http://www.fws.gov/northflorida. Those areas designated as protected pursuant to the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act are on Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s website at: http://myfwc.com/manatee/rules/news-rules.htm. Click on the manatee link at each site. In those areas where the federal and state zones are not identical, the more restrictive zone takes precedence. The web page maps provide a general overview of the areas that have manatee speed zones but are not a substitute for on-the-water markings.
For more information about enforcement issues, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Groveland, FL, Office of Law Enforcement Resident Agent in Charge at (352) 429-1037.
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.
NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at http://www.fws.gov/southeast/news. Our national home page is at: http://www.fws.gov/news/newsreleases/. Atlanta, GA 30345, Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286