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Increased Protection for Endangered Florida Manatees

In April 2001, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission agreed to establish extensive slow speed zones in endangered manatee habitat as well as 14 refuges and sanctuaries in Florida coastal waters.

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Victory

In April 2001, a settlement was reached between Earthjustice and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission regarding the protection of endangered manatees off Florida's coast.

The terms of the agreement include increased slow-speed zones in manatee habitat. While this will not prohibit boating activity in areas where manatees live, it will ensure that boats move at idle speed and therefore are much less likely to kill them. In areas where there are high concentrations of manatees or in their known feeding and calving grounds, sanctuaries will be established to keep human-manatee interactions to a minimum. However, even in these areas, people who need to use the waterways to get to their homes or other pertinent places will be allowed to do so at idle speed.

The settlement is the culmination of a long, concerted effort to increase the chance of survival for Florida's manatees. The legal expertise of the Tallahassee office has been an intricate part of this strategy, and will continue to be so until manatees reach sustainable levels.

 

Program Area:  The Wild
Office:  Florida
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