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North Florida Field Office

News Release

For Immediate Release

For Immediate Release
Date: April 16, 2002
Release #: 003-02
Media Contacts:
Chuck Underwood 904/731-3332
Jim Rothschild 404/679-7291

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces manatee zone enforcement this weekend

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is asking for your help in reducing the number of boat related manatee deaths. The 2002 Florida boating season began with the highest manatee mortality attributed to boat strikes in recent history. A warmer than normal winter and an ever growing boating public has added to the current manatee mortality problem. In an effort to minimize manatee boat strikes, The United States Fish and Wildlife be Service and other law enforcement agencies will be strictly enforcing manatee speed zones in Brevard County during the upcoming weekend: April 20-21.

Remember when the boat speed restriction in a posted manatee zone indicates SLOW SPEED, MINIMUM WAKE - your boat is settled in the water, not plowing, with only a small wake.

When the boat speed restriction in a posted manatee zone indicates IDLE SPEED, NO WAKE - your boat is traveling at the lowest speed needed to maintain steering and is not producing any wake.

Please operate your boat responsibly and obey the manatee speed zones in your county. With your help, the manatee will be around for future generations to enjoy.

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 Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 538 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 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 -

For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
visit our home page at http://www.fws.gov

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Last modified January 14, 2004