Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network

Dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals through rescue and rehabilitation, research and education.

Rockport, TX Dolphin Entangled – Requesting Assistance from the Public

The Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network (TMMSN) has been tracking a bottlenose dolphin in trouble in Rockport, TX and asks for help from the public by reporting sightings. The dolphin was initially reported on April 28th near Aransas and Copano Bay and appears to be entangled with the rope and float from a crab trap. The rope is wrapped tightly around the dolphin’s torso where it is knotted and the rope trailing behind with the float (at last sighting). This type of entanglement could prove life threatening and a disentanglement effort will be essential. Our next step is to get consistent sighting information on the animal so that we can closely monitor the condition, behavior and movement patterns so that a safe and effective intervention can be planned accordingly.

We are asking the public to report sightings of this entangled dolphin to the TMMSN stranding hotline at 1‐800‐9MAMMAL (1‐800‐962‐6625). It is important to include the specific time and location of the sighting. The dolphin has been seen traveling with a young dolphin, please note in your report if the dolphin was sighted alone or traveling with other dolphins where possible. If the animal is sighted, please take care not to place additional stress on the animal by approaching closely with a vessel. The float is easily visible and we are asking that the public not attempt to cut off or remove the float. This would not solve the issue as it would leave the rope wrapped around the torso of the body and make it more difficult to track the dolphin.

There are a number of things you can do to help prevent more injuries to this animal and all bottlenose dolphins:

• Never feed wild dolphins – it is illegal and teaches dolphins to beg people for food and draws them dangerously close to fishing gear and boat propellers. Visit www.dontfeedwilddolphins.org
• Observe wild dolphins from safe distances of at least 50 yards whenever possible.
• Avoid touching, swimming, or otherwise closely interacting with wild dolphins, even if they approach you.
• Never cast your line towards dolphins.
• Inspect your fishing gear often to avoid unwanted line breaks – even small amounts of gear in the water can be harmful to dolphins if entangled or ingested.
• Place all broken or used fishing line in a Monofilament Fishing Line Recycling Bin or a lidded trash can.

We greatly appreciate the assistance and cooperation of the public in order to help this dolphin and to prevent more injuries to bottlenose dolphins in the future.

Visit us at www.dolphinrescue.org or on Facebook at facebook.com/tmmsn.dolphin.rescue