FWC urges manatee awareness on Labor Day weekend
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Media contact: Patricia Behnke, 850-251-2130
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) is reminding boaters to be extra cautious and obey
manatee speed zone signs as they head out on the state's waterways
during the Labor Day weekend.
During warm weather, manatees move throughout
Florida's estuaries and rivers. Boaters can help keep manatees safe
by following a few simple guidelines.
"We ask boaters to stay in marked channels, wear
polarized sunglasses to improve visibility below the water surface
and obey posted boat-speed zones," said Kipp Frohlich, leader of
the FWC's Imperiled Species Management section. "Using poles,
paddles or trolling motors when in close proximity to manatees and
having someone onboard scan the water when under way can go a long
way to protecting manatees from harm."
Boaters should scan the water near or in front of
the boat - looking for a repetitive line of half-moon swirls -
sometimes called a manatee footprint - or a trail or a snout or
fluke (tail) breaking the water's surface.
"Manatee protection is a high priority for the
FWC," said Carol Knox, manatee management plan coordinator. "We are
committed to conservation actions that reduce the number of
human-caused manatee deaths."
Enforcement of manatee protection zones and efforts
to inform boaters about manatee conservation also is a priority for
the FWC's law enforcement officers.
Besides slowing down, obeying speed zones and
following the FWC's recommendations, residents can purchase a
manatee specialty license plate. The funds collected for these
plates go directly into manatee research and conservation.
As of Aug. 20, 58 manatees have died in 2010 from
If you see a manatee in distress or a dead manatee,
call the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922). For
more information about manatees, go to MyFWC.com/Manatee.