NMMA calls for support of manatee legislation

CHICAGO – The National Marine Manufacturers Association issued an Action Alert message to its members yesterday calling on them to support a Florida bill it said “will ensure that both the manatee and the recreational boating population will continue to flourish well into the future.

The Alert asked NMMA members to contact Florida Governor Jeb Bush and tell him to sign the legislation, known as SB 540/HB 633. NMMA said in its Alert that “extremist groups have disseminated untrue and misleading appeals to individuals across the country urging them to ask the Governor to veto the bill. These appeals have been irresponsible and blatantly false.”

NMMA then tried to refute some of the rumors it said were being spread, with the following statements.

  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service SUPPORTS the presumption language in the bill.
  • This bill DOES improve long-term manatee protection by commissioning three Enhanced Manatee Protection Studies.
  • This bill DOES establish measurable biological goals for the manatee herd, which will help the state determine when established protections are meeting the important goal of preserving the long-term health of the herd.
  • This bill DOES provide an evaluation of the effectiveness of all manatee speed zones.
  • This bill creates a presumption that if the manatee population count attains the state’s goals, no further boating restrictions will be necessary.
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