Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Government Bows to Business Over Manatee Issue

The manatee is in danger of being wiped out completely, because the manatee may be declared un-endangered soon. I've written about this problem before.

"The manatee is about to be declared un-endangered?" you ask. "Well then, doesn't that mean that it IS?"

No. It simply means that the big business of Tourism has won.

You see, it's just so darned inconvenient to have to worry about manatees when you're boating in our lovely Floridian waters. So, if you want to rev things up, Florida must declare the manatee to be just fine. That means you have to get the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in on the con, and you have to throw out the standards which are used to evaluate such situations.

" reach that conclusion, federal wildlife officials had to ignore scientific criteria they put in place in 2001 and assume the threats facing manatees will not increase," reports an article in the St. Pete Times today. However, threats will certainly increase as our population continues to rise and boaters are once allowed to speed throughout the waters in which the manatees live in. As a portent of things to come, the Times reported "Last year, speeding boaters killed 86 manatees, a 43 percent increase over the number killed 10 years before."

Any fool could see that this is a bad idea, and scientists are very alarmed. However, that won't stop Tourism; no sirree! Florida, land of chads and Katherine Wilson, puts tourists first. Who needs manatees, anyway? They just become speed bumps in the water.

This is a far cry from Florida's "Alligator Problem" that we had in the 1970s. Back then, it was politically correct to declare the alligators endangered (when they weren't) because environmentalism was the Fad of the Moment and it didn't impact Big Business. But now, the Bush administration has set the tone: Environmental issues are for sissies. Big Business reigns supreme: Long live the King.

Why did environmental issues get hijacked by the left? How come conservatives can't take it seriously? Do they forget that mankind was given charge over the earth (or so it says in Genesis, in the Bible). Of course I suppose they could argue that since they're in charge of the earth, manatees be damned. But is that truly good stewardship? When tourism can live peacefully alongside the manatees, do we really need to change the status? Why fix it if it isn't broken?

The state wildlife commission is expected to downgrade the manatees's status to "threatened" this summer. Unless we write to our legislators and demand that they do something about it.


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Hans said...

I think you're going to have a hard time finding people who come down against manatees.

My question is the connection to tourism. I suspect that the culprits are either connected to the water powersports or land development industries.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Hans, It's definately connected to the water powersports industry, which is directly affected by/connected to tourism. So you're right, but it's a little more than that. And, surprisingly, there are plenty of people willing to make hash out of manatees...

eshuneutics said...

A few weeks ago, the BBC did a whole report on the manatee. It was full of Florida people protesting their love of this ENDANGERED animal. Well, it has become un-endangered very quickly. Shows how relative that term "endangered" really is.

Hans said...

eshuneutics - "...protesting their love of this ENDANGERED animal." Were they showing their support for the manatee or protesting it being on the endangered species list? I'm a little unclear.

Ed Abbey said...

Saur - I think you have a hard fight on your hands when the published surveys in our state rag show that their population has more than doubled in 15 years. (2,812 in 2007 vs. 1,267 in 1991)

Assuming more tax dollars are poured into endangered species than those that are threatened, I guess I wouldn't have too much problem with moving their status to threatened and keeping tabs on their numbers. If they drop, then they go back on and boating restrictions resume.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Ed, ahhhh, but WILL they go back on the endangered species list? And, the only reason their already slim population doubled is BECAUSE they were declared endangered.

Hans, I'm assuming Esh is saying that everyone thought it was a GOOD thing to declare the manatees endangered.

Esh, Ah yes, how very true. :P

Hans said...

Saur - You know what that say about assume,

Matt said...

What happens when a boater hits a manatee, I wonder?

Do they just speed along as if they'd merely hit a deer on the road or do they stop and file some kind of report? It almost seems like police should be interviewing witnesses....

The Lazy Iguana said...

Matt - boaters are supposed to report any manatee strikes. Boaters that report strikes are usually not fined. The State would rather you report a strike than collect a fine. Also this encourages boaters to report strikes.

Saur - I have it from very good sources that this will in no way effect existing manatee zones. Threatened or endangered, the manatee will still fall under Federal protection.

The alligator was placed on the endangered list because it was endangered. They were over hunted. I remember when I was younger I did not see as many of the things as I see now. They went from endangered to "species of special concern" in one step. This is why limited hunting is allowed.

The change in manatee status is due to the fact that numbers are increasing. I also understand it could result in opening up some more land for development. Or something like that.

But really. Word on the water is that no speed zones will be effected.

Senor Caiman said...


Those fat sea cows deserve to get run over. Why don't they lose some weight and then maybe they could swim faster. Put them is a zoo where they belong.

Lee Ann said...

Manatees are amazing. This was an issue years ago when I was living in South Florida.
Just like so many things, the people must speak up or get involved to make a difference.

The Lazy Iguana said...

As a boat owner, I am sort of caught in the middle here.

On the one hand, preserving the environment is a good thing I suppose. If we do not protect the environment there is no more diving, no more snorkeling, no more fishing, and no more lobster / shrimp.

On the other hand - manatee speed zones suck. You hardly ever see a manatee but if you go too fast the mullet patrol give you a ticket. The sooner all the manatees croak the sooner we can get rid of all slow zones.

daveawayfromhome said...

Good golly, the Bush Administration (hell, Republicans in general) taking up the cause of business over, well, anything that gets in the way of naked profit?!! Who'da thunk it?

I'm waiting for the day when BushCo is finally on the Global Warming Train, and declares endangered species to be contributors to global warming.

eshuneutics said...

Esh: protesting=affirming. Thanks Saur...UK English can be odd at times!