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NOAA: 279 Dolphins Dead On Gulf Coast, Triple Usual Number

Jun 15, 2019
A dolphin covered in oil from the 201BP oil spill swims through Bay Jimmy in Northern Barataria Bay, Louisiana.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

At least 279 dolphins have stranded across much of the U.S. Gulf Coast since Feb. 1, triple the usual number, and about 98 percent of them have died, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration is declaring an unusual mortality event for bottlenose dolphins in the northern Gulf of Mexico, ranging from Franklin County, Florida to Louisiana. 

Stephen Splane / WUSF Public Media

Red tide seems to be retreating in the Tampa Bay area with the onset of a cold front. But further south, dolphins continue to die at an alarming pace.

There have been 39 dolphin strandings since November 21st. Two were reported this week. Most have happened in Lee and Collier counties in southwest Florida.

Officials in Florida say dolphins seem to be red tide's latest victims as more than 20 have washed up dead since last week along the state's southwest coast.

Mote Marine Laboratory

The federal government, with the help of Mote Marine Laboratory, is continuing to investigate a significant spike in dolphin deaths in the Gulf of Mexico -- and they want to know if red tide is playing a part in it.

Florida this week declared a state of emergency because of a slow-moving natural disaster — red tide.

Red tide is toxic algae that have persisted off Florida's Gulf Coast for nearly a year. In recent weeks, the algae bloom has worsened, killing fish, turtles and dolphins and discouraging tourism on some of the state's most beautiful beaches.

Research Shows Link Between Environment, Dolphin Health

May 15, 2017

New research reveals the critical role the environment plays in dolphin health.

Constellation is an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, but she spends most of her time in the Pacific. She's part of the Navy's Marine Mammal program, based in San Diego.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Winter the dolphin’s winter home is getting a new look.

It’s common to see dolphins come up to a tour boat and jump in its wake. But there’s a growing campaign that wants ecotours to keep their distance. Across the country, there are 18 of these tours certified “Dolphin SMART." The program’s mission is to prevent boats from interrupting the natural behavior of wild dolphins. 

ouisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

In a new study, a team of scientists says there’s a definite link between the massive BP oil spill in 2010 and a record number of dolphin deaths along the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The scientists said large numbers of dead bottlenose dolphins found stranded along shores since the spill suffered from lung and adrenal lesions caused by swimming in oil-contaminated seas.

The research paper backs up previous findings linking dolphin deaths to the oil spill.

islandconnectionnews.com

Dolphins living in one of the areas worst hit by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill were in bad shape a year later, with lung problems consistent with exposure to oil, according to a study assessing damage from the spill.