Dolphins in the Navesink west of the Oceanic Bridge in 2008. (Click to enlarge)

Dolphins have been seen feeding in the upper Navesink River this weekend, prompting recollections of 2008, when debate raged about what, if anything, should be done to save a pod from the impending start of winter.

Red Bank’s Joe Ruffini reported seeing about six dolphins from his boat off Fair Haven Saturday, and members of the Navesink River Rowing club said four small dolphins were in the water off Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank early Sunday.

While dolphins are occasional visitors to the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers, sitings tend to stir memories of 2008 and 2009, when a pod of 16 Atlantic bottlenose dolphins spent more than six months in the Navesink. The extended stay prompted widespread belief that the animals were trapped, ill or disoriented and might die in a freeze-over of the river.

Six dolphins were found dead on river shores over the course of the pod’s stay and ensuing months, though only three were conclusively determined to have been members of the pod, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The fate of the remaining 10 was unknown.

redbankgreen welcomes sighting reports and photos of the dolphins. Please send them here, and tell us when and where the dolphins were seen.