Island News, Manatee Meeting
On Thursday, March 15th,
the Marco Island Marriott was the scene of a gathering to find
out the truth about the new proposed guidelines put forth by
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. With at least 400
people in attendance, the crowd sat open eared to the various
speakers, including former city official, Ed Day.
The resounding theme
was that of mistrust of our government officials.
Jim Kalvin, founder of
Standing Watch, echoed the other speakers, stating that it is
possible that you soon will not be able to get back to your
favorite backwater fishing spot, or your secluded beach due to
miles of no wake zones. Kalvin said that his group is
positioned to fight for property owner's rights and has grown
to over 5000 members in a very short time.
Kalvin angrily said that," The
government could shut down the whole state of Florida by
declaring it a sanctuary". Kalvin then gave a definition
of a sanctuary, "That means no human activity".
The F.W.S. can take any
area of water and convert it into a no wake zone, thus making
a trip that would normally take an hour, into a full
day. This could make ventures into the 10,000 islands a
two day trip. Charter fishing operators could face devastating
effects if the 10,000 islands were declared a no wake zone.
Ed Day stated that the
manatee population is increasing, not decreasing. Day
also stated that all of this is a gross lie advanced by the
the Manatee Group".
In January, the Save the
Manatee Club, along with 17 national and state environmental,
animal welfare, and public interest groups, announced that
they had reached a landmark settlement agreement in a federal
lawsuit filed last year.
The lawsuit was filed
against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service (Service). The suit alleged that
by their actions and omissions, the government agencies
charged with the protection of the manatee were causing
manatees to be “taken.” The taking of manatees includes
the killing, injuring, and harassing of these endangered
The settlement commits
the Service to a rapid schedule for the designation of new
manatee refuges and sanctuaries throughout Florida with the
final rule to be issued by the end of September of this year.
Manatees will now have a network of protected areas where they
can be free from harassment and human activity to rest, breed,
feed, and nurse their calves.
The Service and the
Corps have also committed to adopting "small take"
regulations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA)
within no more than 28 months. Under the MMPA,
such regulations could only be issued if the Secretary of the
Interior ensures that the "taking" being authorized
-- which includes not only mortalities, but also sub-lethal
injuries from collisions and harassment -- has no more than a
negligible effect on the species. If the effect will be
more than negligible, the authorization must be denied.
In issuing the MMPA
rules, the Service has agreed to evaluate, at a minimum, the
direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on manatees and their
habitat for all Corps permitting activities. "The
net effect of these changes will result in much more
protective measures for manatees." said Eric Glitzenstein
of Meyer and Glitzenstein, the Washington, D.C. law firm that
represented SMC and the coalition in the lawsuit.
Until these new MMPA regulations are adopted, the Service must
determine that a proposed project (such as a marina) is not
likely to adversely affect manatees before the project can be
built. Adequate speed zones and signage will have to be
in place as well as speed zone enforcement sufficient to
prevent watercraft collisions from occurring as a result of
This lawsuit was
apparently settled behind closed doors to get dock
construction back on track. When the lawsuit was filed,
all dock permitting (excluding residential) was
It is a well known fact
that Jimmy Buffet is a big supporter of Save the Manatee, so
perhaps we all should put away our Margaritaville CD's for a
Anyone interested in
joining Jim Kelvin's "Standing Watch" can visit
their website at www.standing-watch.org
The tone was clear,
everyone likes manatees, however, we want to keep our boating