Plan would limit swimming with manatees at Florida refuge

HOMOSASSA, Fla. (AP) - Federal wildlife officials are seeking public comment for plans to limit swimming among manatees at a popular Florida refuge.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing new measures to protect manatees that spend the winter at Three Sisters Springs in the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge.

From Nov. 15 through March 31 each year, the wildlife service would cut the number of tour operators allowed access to the springs, limit the number of people in the water with the manatees and restrict how those people interact with the endangered animals.

Anyone swimming with the manatees would be required to wear a black wet suit, and swimming fins would be prohibited.

Some areas would be closed to swimmers entirely.

Comments may be emailed to the refuge until Sept. 4.