NOAA Fisheries and a host of other agencies have been at work over the summer of 2013, trying to learn why dolphins are dying along the Mid Atlantic Coast.
Bottlenose dolphin strandings in the Mid Atlantic region from New York To Virginia were over nine times the historical average for the months of July and August. According to NOAA Fisheries, 291 dolphin strandings had occurred as of August 26, compared to a historic mean of 26.
All age classes of bottlenose dolphins are involved and strandings range from a few live animals to mostly dead animals with many very decomposed.
On August 8, 2013, NOAA Fisheries officially declared the situation an “Unusual Mortality Event” (UME). Since that time, dolphin strandings also have occurred in North Carolina.
As part of the UME investigation process, NOAA Fisheries recently began assembling an independent team of scientists (Investigative Team) to coordinate with the Working Group on Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events to review the data collected and to determine the next steps.
To report a live or dead stranded dolphin in the Northeast U.S., please call the local marine mammal stranding network (1-866-755-6622).
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source: NOAA Fisheries