FWC News Release

Contact: Dawn Griffin (850) 488-5600

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) began work last week to remove, repair, clean and install waterway signs posting state-adopted manatee protection zones in Collier County. Workers expect to finish the job by the end of the year.

The FWC is replacing signs damaged by hurricanes, deteriorated from age or in disrepair due to vandalism. In addition, the agency is relocating or posting new signs to mark the existing protection zones. Repairs will take place only on state-adopted manatee protection zone signs in Little Hickory Bay, Wiggins Bay, Water Turkey Bay, Naples Bay, Dollar Bay, Gordon Pass, Haldeman Creek, Henderson Creek, Hall Bay, Johnson Bay, Isle of Capri, Marco River, Addison Bay, McIlvane Bay, Goodland Bay, Blue Bay, Caxambas Pass, Port of the Islands, Faka Union Canal and Chokoloskee Bay.

“There are several areas around the county where officers were issuing warnings because the manatee signs were missing or damaged,” said Lt. Mitts Mravic of FWC’s Collier County office. “After this project is completed, officers will be issuing citations again for speeding in manatee zones.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that collisions with watercraft are responsible for about 25 percent of all manatee deaths and about 80 percent of all human-caused mortality in manatees.

Boaters in Collier County will be responsible for knowing the zones and operating their vessels accordingly. Once zones are properly marked, law enforcement officers will strictly enforce speed zones as posted.

“We want to protect the manatees,” Mravic said. “It’s all about slowing down vessel traffic in areas where these animals frequent to avoid additional manatee fatalities.”

For more information, visit MyFWC.com and click “Manatees” to access state manatee speed zone maps.