Well, I went to the meeting in Tampa...It was a lousy turnout. I think there were only like 300 people there. Nonetheless, the general consensus was positive. There was only a handful of people in favor of the new proposed legislation but an overwhelming majority was against it. I was glad to see a good number of officials present in support of the public.
Here's an excerpt from the St. Pete Times:
"Federal wildlife officials announced last month that they intend to clamp down on permits for new docks, marinas and boat ramps from Pasco County south to the state's southern tip. They expect that to limit the number of boats in areas where manatees congregate. Their goal is to cut the number of manatee deaths caused by speeding boats, which as of the end of November had hit a record high of 91 deaths.
Another imaginative suggestion came from avid scuba diver Norman Linton of St. Petersburg, who said he had heard manatees are "an excellent source of protein and delicious to boot." So, he asked, why not legalize manatee farms and require part of each "crop" be released to the wild?
Among those who spoke against the regulations at the Fort Myers hearing were state Rep. Lindsay Harrington, R-Punta Gorda, recently chosen House speaker pro tempore, as well as a number of local officials, including Lee County Commissioner Andy Coy. Coy said blocking boat docks in Lee County is "like outlawing cabins in North Carolina, basketball in Indiana and Mickey Mouse in Orlando."