Florida boaters are being reminded to keep local waterways clear of fishing gear and debris, after a 29-year-old healthy bottlenose dolphin was found dead.
The female dolphin apparently suffocated after becoming wrapped in fishing tackle, according to scientists at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota. The research lab has studied the area's dolphin population for more than 40 years and report that the dolphin was otherwise healthy.
According to a statement released by Mote Lab:
"The line was stretched taught and connected to a hook embedded in the dolphin’s “melon” (forehead). Mote scientists are awaiting lab results that may provide additional details about the animal’s condition and demise. However, its case history suggests it had been thriving before it died."
The bottlenose dolphin was discovered dead in Venice Inlet on Dec. 8. Scientists say that she was 27 years old – which is young for the marine mammal – and part of a year-round population of bottlenose dolphins. The dolphin was about nine feet long and weighed close to 500 pounds. Scientists described her condition as "excellent" prior to her death.
Many Sarasota Bay dolphins have been harmed or even killed through negative interactions with humans, such as boat strikes and ingestion of fishing tackle.
Want more information?
Here are articles and web sites on the local bottlenose dolphin population, including information on how you can help ensure the marine mammals thrive: