Manatee Rulemaking

Revised 10/30/14

Information is included on this page for proposed rules that are currently open for public comment as well as for issues or areas for which the FWC is actively considering the need to develop a rule. Follow this link for general information on manatee protection rules and how the rules are established.

Proposed Rules Currently Open for Public Comment

Comments on proposed rules must be in writing and should be emailed or mailed to the agency representative whose name and address are listed in the Notice of Proposed Rule. No special form is required; a typed or handwritten letter is sufficient. Comments must be received by the agency within 21 days after the publication of the Notice of Proposed Rule, or on or before the date of the final public hearing, whichever is later. Notices of Proposed Rule can also be viewed online at the Department of State's site for the Florida Administrative Register (FAR).Adobe PDF

No rules are currently open for public comment

Upcoming Public Meetings and Workshops

Commission meetings and agendas

Issues and Areas Currently Being Considered for Rule Making

See the FWC Manatee Management Plan (2MB) Adobe PDF (Chapter 7) for more information on how the FWC chooses and prioritizes issues and areas to be reviewed. There is no formal comment period associated with this stage of rule development.

Western Pinellas County (68C-22.016, FAC)

FWC staff began looking at data and information regarding manatee protection needs in 2011. This review does not include the eastern portion of Pinellas County, which was included in a 2003-04 review of the Tampa Bay area. Based on a preliminary review of available information, staff determined new manatee protection zones may be warranted. As required by statute, the FWC sent a letter to Pinellas County in January 2014 requesting the County form a Local Rule Review Committee (LRRC) to consider and provide comment on potential zones. The County formed a LRRC in March 2014 and FWC staff transmitted a preliminary rule proposal and data package to the LRRC in April. The LRRC met seven times between April and early June 2014 and then submitted its report to the FWC. FWC staff prepared a written response to the LRRC report in August 2014. A public workshop was held on September 25, 2014, in Treasure Island to gather additional public input. The FWC Commissioners are scheduled to consider staff recommendations on this issue at the November 20-21, 2014, meeting in Key Largo (see link above). Pinellas County also is maintaining information on its website.

Collier County (68C-22.023, FAC)

Staff is currently evaluating information to determine whether rule changes may be warranted.

Permits Issued to Commercial Fishers and Professional Fishing Guides (68C-22.003, FAC)

FWC staff began looking at this issue in 2008. Information was provided to stakeholders, county commissions, and current permit holders in September 2009 and FWC staff conducted four public meetings in October. At the December 2009 FWC meeting, the FWC Commissioners accepted staff recommendations to postpone consideration of potential changes until economic conditions improve. Information from the December 2009 meeting is provided below.

Recently Approved Rules

FWC manatee protection zones do not supersede more restrictive zones established for other purposes and/or by other levels of government.  In cases where multiple regulations have been established for the same area, the most restrictive regulation is the one that applies and is posted.

Flagler County manatee protection rule (68C-22.028, FAC): This rule was approved by the FWC Commissioners on May 3, 2012, and adopted on May 24, 2012. This rule action also amended the Volusia County rule (68C-22.012, FAC) to remove the zones in the extreme southern end of Flagler County that had been a part of the rule for Volusia County. Posting of regulatory markers was completed in March 2013.

Broward County manatee protection rule (68C-22.010, FAC): Amendments to this rule were approved by the FWC Commissioners on September 7, 2011 and adopted on October 25, 2011. Posting of revised regulatory markers was completed in August 2012.

Sarasota County manatee protection rule (68C-22.026, FAC): Amendments to this rule were approved by the FWC Commissioners on April 28, 2010, and adopted on June 4, 2010.  Posting of revised regulatory markers was completed in July 2011.

FWC Facts:
Approximately 1.7 million acres of Florida's remaining natural areas have been invaded by nonindigenous plant species, which have degraded and diminished our ecosystem.

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