Report documents number of manatee strikes

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Boats are the primary threat to manatees, and about 90 percent of the manatees killed by humans were a result of boat strikes, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service puts the number of Florida manatees at about 3,800 and the Puerto Rico population at 72, according to a stock assessment report.

The report on the Florida manatee population shows that each year about 87 manatees are killed by humans in the state. This is more than seven times the number of manatees that the service estimates can be killed without impairing the species’ recovery, according to the center

Stock assessments are required under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and are meant to be used as the basis for management decisions such as those permitting the killing or harassment of the animals by commercial fisheries, oil and gas exploration, boating and shipping, and military exercises.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting comments on the draft stock assessment reports until Sept. 10.

For more on the report, click here.


2 comments on “Report documents number of manatee strikes

  1. Tom McGill, P.E.

    Thirty four years of data show that the state and federal wildlife agencies have ignored their own data and installed ineffective slow speed zones throughout Florida.
    I documented my analysis which is summarized below, and the complete analysis is available free by contacting

    Manatee mortality data recorded over the past three+ decades indicate that on average approximately 24% is watercraft-related. The State (FWC) and Federal (FWS) Wildlife Agencies in settling lawsuits brought by Save the Manatee Club et al promulgated slow speed zones as the primary method of allegedly adding protection for the manatee. It’s worth noting that neither FWS nor FWC challenged the suit in Court. Now, after more than 22% of all Florida’s manatee inhabited waters in the 27 regulated counties have been restricted at slow or lower speed for years, the average percentage of watercraft-related deaths should have significantly reduced. However, that average has remained relatively constant which puts in question the effectiveness of such slow speed zones. Interestingly, available research explains why such zones are ineffective and may actually put the manatee at higher risk of collision with vessels.


  2. Steven Webster

    I needed to take a deep breath before responding to this…. report.
    The Center for Biological Diversity is the worst source of information on earth. Mind you, that is my post-deep-breath assessment.
    The facts are that US FWS wants to downlist manatees from endangered to threatened. The fact is that manatees have zero probability of extinction in 100 years, which is the limit of believable forecasting.
    The Center talks big, but knows squat. They did not participate in Florida’s Manatee Forum and probably don’t even know about it. I doubt they’ve ever met Mike Runge or Chris Fonnesbeck, who know more about manatee statistics and monitoring than any two people on earth. And I can assure any reader they are not on the Christmas Card list for either FWC’s Ken Haddad or FWS’s Sam Hamilton.
    Take this report to the dump and bury it. And — as much as I like Soundings, this report should have been trashed in an editorial, rather than given any sort of legitimacy as “news.”
    Again… all written after a deep breath.

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