OPINION: Manatee Hunting Needs to be Legalized

BY James Mullen

It has officially been one year since manatees were lifted from the endangered species list. I strongly believe that we should be opening a hunting season to curb this population explosion. 39 years of protection under the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act combined with strict environmental regulations have allowed the manatee population to recover to an unacceptable level. These aquatic mammals offer little to Florida’s natural ecosystems. All they do is take up space and get hit by boats.

Manatees pose a direct threat to boaters who wish to cruise at full throttle in shallow water. Their large, fleshy bodies regularly wreak havoc on boat propellers. This damage is not only expensive, but dangerous. Boaters stranded with a broken propeller could be left waiting for help up to several hours, where they risk mild dehydration and moderate sunburns. There’s no reason that humans should be subject to these unnecessary dangers just to preserve possible one of the world’s most vile species.

In addition to being an immediate threat to boaters, manatees are a visual nightmare. They are fat and gray. Manatees are also known to some as sea cows, which is a disservice to cows. We slaughter cows by the millions every year, and cows are useful. They provide milk, beef, and leather for us. Manatees, as stated before, do nothing except lumber about and get hit by boats. So why aren’t we killing them?

I propose that we open a hunting season for manatees. It could be open from January 1st to December 31st each year, with no limit on the number of manatees that an individual can kill. In addition to the limit free season, we shouldn’t regulate how the manatees are hunted. Removing no wake zones would allow for boaters to plow through shallow water at maximum speed if they so choose, destroying any sea cows in the way. This would also allow for quicker, more efficient aquatic transportation, which would be good for the economy.

Within a few years, hopefully we can get manatees back onto the endangered species list, where they belong. Who knows, maybe we could even eradicate them altogether!manatee.png

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