News Releases

Entangled dolphin rescued in St. Johns River

News Release

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525

It was a happy ending to a potentially deadly event.

Biologists and law enforcement personnel freed a dolphin that had become entangled in crab trap lines in the St. Johns River.

A call about the dolphin came in to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers Sunday morning.

The dolphin was seen floating in the same location for about an hour, and the caller believed that the dolphin was dead. FWC officers Bob Brienza and Roland Green spotted the dolphin and realized that it was alive and entangled. They updated FWC marine mammal biologists Nadia Gordon and Cheyanne Ruben, who responded to the scene along with Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Deputy Robert Holmquist and FWC Lt. John Conboy.

The rescuers were able to get close to the dolphin and support the animal while they cut away the entangling lines. 

The dolphin had numerous indentions on its body, and the area right behind the dorsal fin had been rubbed raw. The crab trap lines were wrapped several times around the animal’s tail.   

“The dolphin didn’t wait around,” Conboy said. “As soon as it was free, it got out of there quickly. We looked for it, but we never saw it again.”

The dolphin had been entangled in the gear from three crab traps. 

“I’d like to thank FWC Law Enforcement and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for their assistance, as well as members of the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Rescue Team, who were ready to help out if needed,” said Gordon.

To report a dead or distressed marine mammal, call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).



FWC Facts:
Johnson's seagrass (Halophila johnsonii) lives only in Florida, and is the only federally listed threatened marine plant species.

Learn More at AskFWC