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North Florida Field Office

News Release

For Immediate Release

Date: May 08, 2002
Release #: 004-02
Media Contacts:
Chuck Underwood 904/731-3332
Jim Rothschild 404/679-7291

Enforcement of federal manatee protection areas in Brevard County to go into effect soon

The Memorial Day weekend is the busiest holiday period of the year for Florida's waterways. The holiday represents the "kick-off" of the outdoor recreational season and many of Florida's 800,000 plus registered boats will take advantage of one of the State's greatest recreational resources. The warmer weather also means the manatee activity is dispersed over a wider area in the State.

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is asking for your help in reducing the number of boat-related manatee deaths and injuries. In January 2002, the Service published its final decision designating federal manatee protection areas at the Canaveral Barge Canal and Sykes Creek in Brevard County. Both Federal manatee protection areas were designated slow speed (channel included) and in place year round.

Service law enforcement officers and other law enforcement agencies will strictly enforce all manatee protection areas in Brevard County beginning Memorial Day weekend: May 25-27.

Remember, when the posted manatee protection area indicates SLOW SPEED (CHANNEL INCLUDED), you are to proceed at "slow speed" with your boat fully settled in the water, not plowing (including not going on or coming off plane) and creating only a small wake. This designation applies to the entire marked area including the designated channel.

Businesses and individuals holding State-issued exception permits for the Canaveral Barge Canal and Sykes Creek areas are advised those permits are not valid in these Federal manatee protection areas.

Please operate your boat responsibly and obey the posted manatee protection areas 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 a 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