Manatee Rulemaking

Revised 6/10/15

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

Pinellas County (68C-22.016, FAC)

A Notice of Proposed Rule was published in the FAR on 12/22/14. FWC staff conducted two public hearings in Pinellas County in January 2015. The FWC commissioners are scheduled to conduct the final public hearing in June 2015. Information on the final public hearing is provided below. The rule notice contains information on how to submit written comments on the proposed rule. Comments may also be submitted by e-mail to (please reference Pinellas County in the subject line).

FWC staff began looking at data and information regarding manatee protection needs in western Pinellas County in 2011. This review did not include the eastern portion of the county, which was included in a 2003-2004 review of the Tampa Bay area. At the request of the FWC and as required by statute, Pinellas County formed a Local Rule Review Committee (LRRC) in March 2014 to consider and provide comment on potential zones. The LRRC met seven times between April and June 2014 and then submitted its report to the FWC. FWC staff prepared a written response to the LRRC report in August 2014 and held a public workshop in September 2014 in Treasure Island. At the November 2014 FWC meeting, the FWC Commissioners accepted staff recommendations and directed staff to move forward with a proposed rule.

Upcoming Public Meetings and Workshops

Commission meetings and agendas

Public hearing on proposed amendments to the Pinellas County rule (68C-22.016, FAC)

June 23-25, 2015 (8:30 AM)
Hyatt Regency of Sarasota
1000 Boulevard of the Arts
Sarasota, FL 34236

The above hearing is scheduled to be the final public hearing and will be conducted by the FWC commissioners as part of the regular 3-day Commission meeting. If the final hearing does not occur at this meeting, updated information will be posted as soon as it is available. The Commissioner's agenda for the meeting will indicate the specific day when the item is scheduled to be addressed.

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.

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:
Green or brown algae and white barnacles contribute to the natural camouflage that thick, gray skin affords manatees in the water.

Learn More at AskFWC