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Protection of the endangered Florida manatee was a top priority of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during 1998. In response to the increasing numbers of manatees killed by speeding boats, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement officers conducted five special operations, focusing on locations with unusually high numbers of manatee deaths. During these efforts, Service officers issued over 300 tickets to boaters violating manatee speed zone areas.

Collisions with speeding boats remains one of the greatest threats to manatees. These accidents account for nearly one fourth of all manatees deaths each year. During 1998, 66 manatees were killed by boats. In an effort to reverse this problem, boat speed zones have been established in all Florida waterways frequented by manatees.

The U. S. Coast Guard also initiated a state-wide effort to increase protection for the Florida manatee during 1998. While patrolling waters that are home to this endangered marine mammal, Coast Guard officers issued over 200 tickets to speeding boaters. Coast Guard stations on both the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of Florida participated in a concerted effort to reduce manatee injuries and deaths.

"We appreciate the importance of reducing vessel collisions and are taking steps to increase our enforcement of manatee speed zone regulations" stated Captain A. S. Tangeman, Chief of the Office of Law Enforcement for the Coast Guard.

For further information contact:

Cameron Shaw
Manatee Law Enforcement Coordinator
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
6620 Southpoint Dr. So.,Suite 310
Jacksonville FL 32216
(904)232-2580 Ext. 122

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System comprising more than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries 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 wildlife agencies.


Release #: N99-005

1999 News Releases

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