Manatees: It’s not overfishing that’s the problem

Since we were talking about fish related harvesting, I thought I would stick to the ocean theme for this post.

Manatees are not fish, but whales and dolphins as as affected by overfishing as we are. The problem for manatees, however, isn’t food: it’s collisions.

Manatees are frequently killed by collisions with human vessels. With their bad eyesight, they frequently do not see the fast moving boats until it is too late. This article from the Huffington Post says that while the eyesight is a problem, their hearing is perfectly sound, and they can distinguis motorboat noises from other ambient sound in the ocean. This is something different than the sonar related issues that pertain to dolphins; it’s not indirect activities that affect the manatees.

Save the Manatee Club has a great run down on the facts about manatees. Their aim is to protect manatee habitats, and they try to enact measures such as speed limits for motor boats and sanctuaries that don’t allow boats at all.

Manatees, in my opinion, are adorable. They have been called sea cows, and they really do look similar to them. It’s a shame that something so harmless is so greatly harmed by us.


5 Responses to “Manatees: It’s not overfishing that’s the problem”

  1. Dr. Szulczewski says:

    I have seen many people change their behavior when educated about manatees- like drive their boats more slowly in Florida waters because it’s a direct cause and effect. No one wants their propeller to amputate a manatee’s limb! But first comes more education, and also seeing those cute whiskered faces helps.

  2. dbeckham says:

    Manatees are creatures that would benefit in a world without humans; they have the capability of living 60 or more years on only herbaceous plants they find in the water. But, since this world is inhabited by humans, the manatees suffer. Excess pollution by people is one of the main causes of the increase in manatee injury and deaths in the past several years, which is absolutely terrible to think about. They thrive in the more shallow, warm coastal waters, which is why they are so susceptible to receiving injuries due to boating accidents. These accidents, coupled with increase in pollution from people, have the potential to completely wipe out this aquatic species, not to mention many others that inhabit the waters as well.

    Just thought id share this! –> When I was in FL visiting my mom one year, we were on an inlet off the gulf coast, and a wild manatee swam up right next to me and my brothers…it was so unbelievable and so incredible! They really are gigantic sea cows!

  3. dechard says:

    Another endangered animal as a result of people. We are a dangerous species. The sad thing is we change the environment around us. As a result animal that are more adapted to a very specific environment cannot survive in our changing world. The manatee is another animal that is falling apart, and we are a big part of the blame.

  4. mcornell says:

    I love manatees as well and while I hadn’t connected them to overfishing I had never thought to stop and realize that even marine creatures other than coral reefs that aren’t fished as food are affected by our actions as well. I think this supports that our general attitude toward our planet and our oceans must change. In my high school environmental science class we discussed the concept of environmental stewardship and how little our behavior seemed to reflect this concept. We have a responsibility to take care of our world not only for ourselves but for everything we affect.

  5. K. Davis says:

    I remember visiting aquariums in Florida as a kid and seeing the huge Sea Cows in the tanks. None of the ones I saw were there simple as an attraction, but instead they were being nursed back to health after a boating incident. The manatees I am picturing have huge gashes along their bodies and faces, some even has mutilated fins…just from boats. Because manatees are mobile, it’s hard to protect their areas, but certain boats have severe limitations on their range, in order to protect these gentle giants. I completely agree with your comment though, they are adorable and they should be protected.