Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Take action - Thank Gov. Crist and FWC for postponing manatee downlisting

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) had planned to downlist manatees from “Endangered” to “Threatened” on Florida’s Imperiled Species List. Ocean Conservancy and its partners have been fighting to prevent the manatee downlisting since it was first proposed by local fishing groups. At issue is way Florida defines the terms “threatened” and “endangered” -- the classification system is based on listing/delisting rule language that is flawed and has been criticized by environmental groups and scientists worldwide.

Following a request by Florida Governor Charlie Crist, the FWC voted recently to postpone the decision to reclassify manatees. Calling the manatee one of Florida’s beloved natural resources, Governor Crist issued a letter on September 10th to Rodney Barreto, Chair of the FWC, asking the Commission to postpone the vote on whether to downlist the species. "I believe a more prudent course of action at this time would be to postpone consideration of the proposed change in the status of this species,” Crist said in his letter. Chairman Barreto and the rest of the Commissioners honored this request and voted to postpone a decision.

View the full text of Governor Crist’s letter (pdf).

Ocean Conservancy applauds Governor Crist, Commission Chairman Barreto, and the Commissioners for their action. Please contact Governor Crist and Chairman Barreto and thank them for postponing the dowlisitng of Florida’s manatees. In addition, ask them to use the extra time granted to take another critical look at the classification system and address the concerns repeatedly expressed by the environmental community. Get a summary of the state downlisting issue (PDF).

Thanks for your support!


Jessica Koelsch
Marine Wildlife Manager
Ocean Conservancy

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