NOAA WON’T NUDGE DOLPHINS FOR NOW

Img_1478NOAA’s ark, er, motorboat as seen from Sea Bright on Sunday morning.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says today that it is still monitoring the pod of bottlenose dolphins that’s been in the Shrewsbury River for more than two weeks, but no measures to shepherd the mammals out of the river into Sandy Hook Bay will be undertaken “at this time.”

From a press release issued today by NOAA, an arm of the federal Commerce Department:

NOAA has no definitive plans to move or attempt to herd the dolphins at this time, although it is preparing to do so if it becomes necessary. “It’s a last resort,” said Teri Rowles, director of NOAA’s National Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program. Such a process is complicated, usually has mixed success, and is highly stressful for the animals sometimes resulting in death.

Coastal bottlenose dolphins are accustomed to human activities in their habitat, but close encounters can be risky for both people and the animals…

Aside from the obvious dangers presented by collisions between watercraft and dolphins with sometimes fatal consequences for dolphins, swimmers can also get a nasty surprise. “These guys have teeth,” said Hansen, “and they use their noses and tail flukes as battering weapons. They are very strong and are much larger than they look. In general it’s best to keep your distance, slow down if you are in a water craft, and let them behave naturally. Feeding wild dolphins is also extremely hazardous.”

Federal law prohibits interference with the animal’s natural behavior, and harassment is punishable by fines of up to $10,000.

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