FWC Did the Right Thing on Manatees
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissioners (FWC) did the right thing at the recent meeting in Key Largo when they unanimously voted to defer action on whether to downlist the beloved Florida manatee from Endangered to Threatened, while voting to go ahead with a manatee management plan. Much consternation from stakeholders as to the wisdom and consistency of the present criteria have put in doubt the validity of the listing process which was changed several years ago to try and make the state process more like an international process. The result has been confusion and contention between the agency and those who have been its most ardent supporters.
The manatee put this listing process in the spotlight like no other species. Along with the panther, the manatee is a much-loved icon of what is left of wild Florida. The docile sea cow, most scarred by encounters with boat propellers, is a living symbol of what we still retain as to natural resources. Both the seasoned and new FWC Commissioners made a good first showing in voting to keep the manatee on the Endangered list and we much appreciate their thoughtfulness, as well as the leadership shown by Governor Charlie Crist.
The Florida Wildlife Federation includes many conservation-minded hunters and anglers who enjoy boating and using our water resources, but who also want to ensure that the manatee is here for future generations to enjoy. As we move forward on revisiting the listing issue, it is hoped all sides can work together and come to mutual agreement.
- Manley K. Fuller III, President, Florida Wildlife Federation
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