By CBSMiami.com Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Officials in Miami-Dade announced an initiative Saturday aimed at educating boaters about the impacts their actions have on our wildlife mainly manatees.

The Miami-Dade Police Department and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission held a press conference in North Bay Village and addressed the increase in manatee deaths year over year.

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To put that into perspective, manatee deaths more than doubled in 2020 from 15 in 2019 to 33 the year after.

This year, that number is already at 14 and officials expect an even higher number of manatee deaths than years prior.

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“Slow down in the manatee zones, adhere to our laws, respect the environment, don’t leave garbage out there, come back in with more garbage than you took out, at the end of the day, if you see something, pick it up. We want to let you know, we’re going to be enforcing even more than before… the manatee zones,” said LT. Micahel Barrios of the Miami-Dade Police Department.

This increase happened as more boaters headed to the waters of South Florida.

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Miami-Dade County alone has more than 65,000 registered boaters, making it the largest boating community in the state.

CBSMiami.com Team