CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is monitoring an entangled dolphin and her calf that have been spotted in the Clearwater area the last few weeks.
The CMA rescue team has received multiple reports of the public attempting to remove the gear on their own.
According to the aquarium team, these attempts will add extra stress to the animals and could harm both the dolphins, as well as humans trying to help.
The dolphins are being monitored daily and the entanglement is not life-threatening at the time, so intervention has not been deemed necessary.
“Unfortunately, that line will probably make it’s way through the dorsal fin. You may see animals with a portion of their dorsal fins removed, and it could have been as a result of an entanglement,” Abby Stone with Clearwater Marine Aquarium said.
All observations show the dolphins are swimming normally and are displaying normal foraging behavior. There are no immediate concerns for the entangled mother’s ability to swim or hunt.
CMA reminds the public that any intervention to marine mammals must be authorized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Any attempts to untangle these dolphin, or other marine life, is illegal under the Marine Mammal Protect Act of 1972. Offenders could face a maximum fine of $500 and/or up to 60 days in prison.
“You could actually further damage the dorsal fin or potentially cause other injuries to the animal or separate mom and calf,” Stone said.
Residents are asked to give the entangled dolphin and other marine life space and contact a local stranding organization like CMA if necessary. CMA’s stranding hotline is available seven days a week at all hours by calling 727-441-1790.