Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
For centuries West Indian manatees have been hunted for their meat, hide, and bones. This hunting continues in many South and Central American countries. The domestication of manatees has been suggested. Their status as an endangered species makes this an unlikely option. It has also been suggested that manatees be used as a method of aquatic weed control within their range. However, it has been shown that the amount of plant material consumed by these animals is not large enough to make this a viable option.
As the state's official marine mammal, the Florida manatee (a subspecies of Trichechus manatus) is of particular interest to tourists visiting the area.