Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The impact of debris on the Florida manatee

January 1, 1991

The endangered Florida manatee ingests debris while feeding. From 1978 through 1986, 439 salvaged manatees were examined. Debris was in the gastrointestinal tract of 63 (14.4%) and four died as a direct result of debris ingestion. Monofilament fishing line was the most common debris found (N=49). Plastic bags, string, twine, rope, fish hooks, wire, paper, cellophane, synthetic sponges, rubber bands, and stockings also were recovered. Entanglement in lines and nets killed 11 manatees from 1974 through 1985. Numerous free-ranging manatees have missing or scarred flippers from entanglements, or debris still encircling one or both flippers. We recommend local cleanups, education of the public, and fishing restrictions in high use areas to significantly reduce harm to manatees.

Publication Year 1991
Title The impact of debris on the Florida manatee
DOI 10.1016/0025-326X(91)90406-I
Authors C.A. Beck, N.B. Barros
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Marine Pollution Bulletin
Index ID 1008508
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Florida Integrated Science Center