ON THE SQUAWK BOX: DOLPHINS’ FATE

Dolphins4Dolphins in the upper Shrewsbury in late June, shortly after their arrival.

Amid concern that a pod of dolphins may be imperiled by by falling temperatures in the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers, federal marine officials have scheduled a conference call “seminar” for this evening in which the public may ask questions.

During the two-hour event, scheduled for 6:30p, a panel of scientists regularly consulted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has jurisdiction over the animals, will give short presentations on the dolphins’ behavior, condition and numbers.

According to a press release, the experts will also report on the results of an acoustic study in the Shrewsbury that was initiated in response to concerns that loud noise from construction work on the Highlands Sea Bright bridge might be keeping the dolphins from swimming past the site to Sandy Hook Bay and out to sea.

Another presentation will address the results of necropsies done on two dolphins confirmed dead from this group earlier in the year.

The seminar is said to be the first in a series, though no other dates or agendas have been announced. A website with seminar materials and information about the presenters will be online after 3p today, NOAA said in its announcement..

NOAA officials in late October said they would not intervene in an attempt to move the pod out of the inland rivers except in case of a stranding, angering some activists who have demanded that the dolphins be relocated. They cite a similar episode in 1994 when dolphins became trapped beneath ice in the Shrewsbury River and drowned.

Here’s the basic info, from the press release:

WHEN: Wednesday evening, Dec. 17, from 6:30PM to 8:30PM

WHO: The panel will include a variety of experts, most of whom have been
consulted regularly by NOAA Fisheries Service throughout out this event.

TO CALL IN: To participate by phone, call 800-369-3371 beginning at
6:30PM. The passcode is dolphin. The seminar conference line can take
up to 75 callers at a time.

For more information on the panelists and seminar materials, please
visit our website after 3PM Wednesday Dec. 17 at:
http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/njdolphins/

Email questions about the dolphins to: nj.dolphins@noaa.gov

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