Last June, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced his controversial plan to attract wealthy animal hunters to South Florida by offering manatee hunting permits to sportsmen. Describing his plan as a "game changer," the Mayor predicted that manatee hunting would bring thousands of wealthy adventurists to the County to hunt the majestic sea creatures, and pushed through over $15,000,000 in subsidies to make his vision a reality.
And so, on Monday, Mayor Gimenez will cut the ribbon at Miami's Marine Stadium and allow the first hunters to wade into the pulverized muck, elephant guns and dynamite in hand, to bag themselves a manatee.
"Bear hunting, deer hunting, big game hunting, they're great. But we needed something local," said Mayor Gimenez. "Manatee hunting? That's so Miami."
The manatee hunting ordinance was heartedly supported by the County Commission, with only three commissioners voting against it. It was also supported by City of Miami officials, who were just happy to find a use for the long neglected Marine Stadium.
"After years of subsidizing boat shows that destroyed the Stadium's basin, the useless structure is now the perfect spot for spectators to watch hunters blow up manatees," said City of Miami Manager Daniel Alfonso. "It's nice to know that after years of mismanagement, Miami's Marine Stadium will finally be put to good use."
For all its controversy, local residents have been extremely vocal of their support of the proposal. "What good are all of these guns if we can't shoot a manatee every once in a while?", asked Jose Miranda Fernandez. "Do you know the market price of manatee meat? I'm going to shoot one and put rims on my Nissan."
Hunters who obtain a permit will be limited to 3 manatees per day, and 10 per season. Manatee season runs from April to September, or until Miami is out of manatees.