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FWC investigates after manatee carcass is found in Chiquita Lock

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Posted at 6:52 PM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-10 05:35:32-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — One of the many mammals here in Southwest Florida has died after another issue with a known structure-related problem.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating after receiving reports of a dead manatee at the Chiquita Lock in cape coral on Tuesday.

Many community members say this adds to the list of problems with the known structure.

“I personally would like to see it taken out. It seems like there are more problems than the good that it does,” Phylius Rosken, Cape Coral Resident, said.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirms seven known Manatee Mortalities associated with the Chiquita Lock; between September 2005 and April 2022.

Over the years, community members have repeatedly called on city leaders to help address the issue.

“It seems like it's broke down at least half of the time, boaters get out, and they can't get back in or they're here, and they can't get out,” Rosken said. We had a baby dolphin that was stuck for three weeks.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff met with the city in 2021 to discuss options moving forward to minimize manatee mortalities at the Chiquita Lock. It includes removing the lock, discontinuing operation while keeping the lock doors open, or installing a manatee protection system.

“You know, I wish the best for everyone. Everyone spends a lot of money on their homes and into our economy and stuff like that,” John Sullivan, a Cape Coral resident, said. “But we all have to work together on it that’s my philosophy.”

Overall, the lock was originally designed to protect the water and prevent pollution.

“Whatever is best for the ecosystem, that is what I am for,” Sullivan said. “Because if we don’t have that, then we are all going to leave this area.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will continue investigating ways to help resolve the structure-related manatee mortality.