Brevard commissioner suggests killing manatees might help save them

Brevard commissioner suggests killing manatees might help save them

Commissioner Curt Smith is facing intense criticism from marine advocates after he suggested allowing people to kill manatees as a way to control their population – similar to hunting deer and bears in some states – and to protect the seagrass, a vital food source for the marine species.

He made the remarks last week at a county commissioner’s meeting  after 1,000 manatees reportedly starved to death in 2021 because of declining seagrass.

Manatees are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species act, and the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act. Harassing, hurting, or killing a manatee can come with state and/or federal penalties, including fines and/or jail time.

How far will these people go not to address pollution that has destroyed our lagoon and estuary? How much longer will Floridians ignore this?

Manatees have eaten virtually all the estimated 160,000 pounds (72,500 kilograms) of lettuce provided at a warm-water power plant site where manatees typically congregate during cold months, officials said last week.

Anyone who sees a distressed or dead manatee should call FWC’s wildlife hotline at 888-404-3922.

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