FWC approves Sarasota Co. manatee zone changes
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Media contact: Patricia Behnke, 850-251-2130
New rule amendments will go into effect in Sarasota
County to protect manatees after the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission (FWC) approved the final rule changes on
The FWC's Manatee Management Plan provides for
review of existing manatee protection rules. Sarasota County's rule
was the first one reviewed under the process set forth in the 2007
plan. Review of rules in other counties will follow.
Sarasota became the first county for the review
because of new manatee and boating data collected there and because
its rule is one of the oldest in the state. In addition, the
manatee population in this county does not meet the minimum goals
set forth in the management plan. The FWC used a wide range of
information during the review process, including manatee sighting
data, manatee mortality figures, habitat availability and other
conditions in the channels and zones. Law enforcement, both FWC and
county, helped identify areas for potential changes.
Sarasota convened a 14-member Local Review
Committee after the FWC presented its findings. Public hearings
were held after the Commission directed staff to finalize the rules
at the December meeting. The new rules increase the regulated areas
in Sarasota by 313 acres.
"These amendments are based on sound science," said
Kipp Frohlich, FWC Imperiled Species section leader. "And they
reduce the risk to manatees in Sarasota County."