Standing Watch – A Boating Coalition
By Captain Jim Kalvin
There’s big news on the boating regulatory front. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has recommended that the manatee be down-listed from “endangered” to “threatened”—removing it from the Endangered Species List.
In the long run, this could mean a great deal. Even though best available science supports the move, it will take a year for the USFWS to take and analyze public comment. You can participate now by going to: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-R4-ES-2015-0178-0001. There will be intense pressure from some organizations to keep animals listed as “endangered.”
What’s best for the resource is to follow best available science and manage our waters with a holistic approach that looks at the health of the entire ecosystem. This will differ from the single-species plan we have been following for 30 years, which is nothing but speed zones, no entry zones and permit blockages. Going forward, we should be able to consider sea grass abundance, water quality and the health of our fish nurseries, which, for the past few decades have been on the manatee’s menu.
Go to the USFW website and download the comment information. Plan to attend the public workshop in Orlando on Feb 20.
Capt. Jim Kalvin is a USCG licensed 100-ton master, a Florida native, and a career mariner. As founder, president and CEO of Standing Watch, Florida’s largest boating advocacy organization, he has been working to preserve rights of access since 2000. Download a membership application at Standingwatch.net.