The view downriver from the Oceanic Bridge, the route the remaining dolphins would need to travel to reach the Shrewsbury River and, ultimately, Sandy Hook Bay.
Federal marine experts this afternoon outlined two acoustics-based approaches to moving the remaining bottlenose dolphins out of the Navesink River before they become stranded inland for the winter.
Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said they’ll first trying luring the animals out to Sandy Hook Bay, and possibly out to sea, using a prerecorded sounds of other dolphins feeding and interacting socially.
Plan B, should the “pied piper” effort fail, would be to herd the animals by broadcasting disturbing sounds upriver of the pod, driving it downriver.
A third option, of capturing the individual pod members, is also under consideration, though the experts said the risks there would be greater both for the animals and the humans involved.
At the moment , though, no firm timetable for any removal effort is in place, they said. It will depend on the health conditions of the dolphins, the availability of prey, water temperatures, and the relative location of other bottlenose migrating south in the Atlantic Ocean, said spokeswoman eri Frady of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration‘s Fisheries Service.
“The seasons are changing, and we would expect the dolphins in the Navesink to leave soon,” said Frady. “However, should they need to be moved, we certainly want to do that while they are still fit and have a good chance of surviving.”