Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Florida Ag Commissioner asks that manatees return to 'endangered' status

Posted By on Wed, Oct 6, 2021 at 3:58 PM

click to enlarge ADOBE
  • Adobe

State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried asked the federal government to again list threatened manatees as “endangered,” as Florida has had a record number of manatee deaths this year.

In a letter Tuesday to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fried called “misguided” the March 2017 decision to reclassify manatees as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act —- after a half century of being classified as endangered.

“According to Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there have been 957 manatee deaths so far this year,” Fried wrote. “This is more than double the amount of annual deaths that happened prior to the delisting decision. Even more alarming is that by FWS’ (the Fish and Wildlife Services’) own estimates there are only around 6,500 West Indian manatees remaining in the southeastern United States.”

Fried, a Democratic candidate for governor in 2022, said manatees continue to face the same perils as when they were previously listed as endangered: degradation of habitat, growing impacts of climate change, pollution, speeding boats, seagrass loss and declining water quality.

“These continued risks have unfortunately been realized, particularly as it pertains to seagrass loss and declining water quality, which have been widely attributed to the record number of manatee deaths being reported in Florida,” Fried wrote.

The federal agency in 2017 pointed to an increase in the manatee population and habitat improvements because of conservation efforts by Florida, Puerto Rico, Caribbean nations and public and private organizations.

Tags: , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 12, 2022

View more issues


© 2022 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation