Researchers Identify Cause of Death for Dolphins in Florida

Written by on June 26, 2013 in Marine Life, Technology, Whales & Dolphins

Daily Summary

Beach pollution a mystery

Scientists are analyzing water samples in New Zealand to determine the cause of high levels of water pollution at some of Auckland’s west coast beaches. They are sampling creeks and drains feeding into these areas in order to better understand what is causing this persistent pollution but they still don’t know if it’s from sewage, animal waste or something else. If you’re in New Zealand, check out this post to see what beaches have red alerts.

Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).

Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Photo credit: Allison Henry, NOAA/NEFSC.

Dolphins Choking on Fish and Fishing Gear

Researchers have discovered that chocking was the cause of death for some of the dolphins in the Indian River Lagoon. Between 1997 and 2011, 14 out of 350 dolphins died of asphyxiation because they chocked on spiny fish that they don’t typically eat. In more than a third of those cases, the fish had fishing lines or hooks still attached. So if you’re going fishing any time soon, be careful with your fishing gear!

Underwater Drones Are Multiplying Fast

“The next wave of drones is here and there underwater.” Remotely operated underwater vehicles have been around for years but they are beginning to change. Independent companies are working to develop cheaper, smaller models that can be used both commercially and recreationally. Watch the following video from The Wall Street Journal to learn more:

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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  1. rhyne says:

    OK… I officially have an issue with this article… This is anti-fishing propaganda at its finest. notice the title of the article… “Dolphins Choking on Fish and Fishing Gear”
    And this 1st paragraph…
    “Going fishing this summer? Watch your gear and don’t cut the line. Fish with hooks have been found embedded in the throats of dolphins off the coast Florida.

    This is the first time choking has been identified as a significant cause of death in a dolphin population. Between 1997 and 2011, 14 out of 350 dolphins in the Indian River Lagoon died of asphyxiation, all because they choked on spiny fish they shouldn’t be eating, but in more than a third of those cases the fish also had fishing lines or hooks still attached.”

    So what you said in way to many words is… 4 to 5 dolphins died after EATING SPINY FISH that “also” had lines or hooks still attached. 4-5 out of 350… and yet it’s the title of the article? This attack on fishing needs to stop! Articles like this are what give the environmentalist movement a bad name.
    Curious… Why no deeper explanation of the spiny fish they’ve been eating? Perhaps they’re the invasive species of Lion Fish that are known for being so poisonous and that is the cause of death (of the majority, rather than the 1/3 of 14 OUT OF 350 you focus on and name the article after). And how about the other 336 deaths?… no elaboration on those? hmmmm… guess they don’t fit into your anti-fishing agenda.

  2. Emily says:

    No ‘anti-fishing agenda’ here! This isn’t MST’s opinion; we’re simply sharing the most recent findings from the Indian River Lagoon “mass murder mystery” case.