Second Synoptic Survey to Count Manatees Complete
Results Produce Near Record Numbers

St. Petersburg- According to biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Florida Marine Research Institute (FMRI), optimal weather conditions played a role in the January 21-22 statewide synoptic survey to count manatees. The count produced a total number of 3,113 manatees; the second highest count since the survey began in 1991. On Florida’s Gulf Coast observers counted 1,299 manatees while on the East Coast observers counted 1,814 manatees. The first synoptic survey to count manatees this year was conducted on Jan. 9 and produced a total of 2,861 manatees; 1,166 on Florida’s Gulf Coast and 1,695 on the East Coast.

For the East Coast this was an all time high count; the previous East Coast record was set in Jan. 2001 with 1,520 manatees counted. For Florida’s Gulf Coast this year’s count did not produce a record; that was set back in Jan. 2001 with 1,756 manatees counted.

Eighteen teams consisting of 14 air and 4 ground crews, and 11 agencies participated in this year’s survey.

Biologists have a prescription of favorable weather conditions for manatee surveys.
• A prolonged cold front,
• A significant drop in water temperature, and
• A sunny, windless day following the cold front.
For questions regarding the most recent synoptic survey please contact Allison McDonald or Dr. Bruce Ackerman at (727) 896-8626.For more information on other ways biologists assess the manatee population please visit, then click on "manatees."

To report a dead or injured manatee please call 1-888-404-FWCC.
1991 1,465
1992 1,856
1995 1,822
1996 2,639
1997 2,229
1998 2,022
1999 2,353
2000 2,223
2001 3,276
2002 1,796
2003 3,113
*Surveys not conducted


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