Meet new scuba divers, maintain a virtual dive log, participate in our forum, share underwater photos, research dive sites and more. Members login here.

Crystal River Manatee
slippin2darknezz - 1/10/2011 10:32 AM
Category: Travel
Replies: 2

Fish and Wildlife Service broadens manatee protections

CRYSTAL RIVER - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced an emergency rule to expand federal protection areas for manatees in Citrus County creating a refuge that includes all of Kings Bay in Crystal River. The manatee refuge went into effect in mid-Novemeber, and includes all waters of Kings Bay, including all tributaries and adjoining water bodies upstream of the confluence of Kings Bay and Crystal River.

Established under the emergency rule provision of the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the Kings Bay manatee refuge provides the Service with management options to immediately address the needs of the increasing number of manatees using the warm water springs in Kings Bay. These new provisions will provide greater access for manatees to critical warm water areas during the winter months and address public concerns associated with local, wintertime manatee viewing activities.

The Kings Bay manatee refuge joins an existing federal manatee protection network of 11 sanctuaries and 13 refuges.

Manatee viewing guidelines, many of which have been in place for several years, have been incorporated into the rule. As prohibited acts, these will now be legally enforceable by federal and state marine law enforcement officers. Activities that are specifically prohibited throughout the manatee refuge include:

Chasing or pursuing manatee(s).
Disturbing or touching resting or feeding manatee(s).
Diving from the surface onto resting or feeding manatee(s).
Cornering or surrounding or attempting to corner or surround manatee(s).
Riding, holding, grabbing or pinching, or attempting to ride, hold, grab or pinch manatee(s).
Poking, prodding or stabbing, or attempting to poke, prod or stab manatee(s) with anything, including hands and feet.
Standing on or attempting to stand on manatee(s).
Separating a mother and calf or attempting to separate a mother and calf.
Separating manatee(s) from a group or attempting to separate manatee(s) from a group.
Giving manatee(s) anything to eat or drink or attempting to give manatee(s) anything to eat or drink.
Actively initiating contact with belted and/or tagged manatee(s) and associated gear, including any belts, harnesses, tracking devices and antennae.
In addition to the above prohibited activities, the following waterborne activities are prohibited within Three Sisters Springs, from November 15 to March 15: scuba diving and fishing, including with hook and line, by cast net or spear.
For more information about the manatees and this rule, please visit the Service at or
SCUBASMITTY - 1/10/2011 12:20 PM