News Release
Southeast Region


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Data Collection Project in Choctawhatchee Bay Results in Accidental Dolphin Deaths

April 14, 2011



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) reported the accidental deaths of two bottlenose dolphins in a Natural Resource Damage Assessment scientific data collection effort in Choctawhatchee Bay, Florida. The species is not classified as threatened or endangered.

The dolphins were caught April 12 in a gill net set in Hogtown Bayou (Walton County, Florida) during collection of Gulf sturgeon samples as part of the ongoing damage and assessment efforts related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials are reviewing the incident and will conduct an appropriate investigation. The USFWS and NOAA are working together to develop measures to avoid dolphin entanglement in future assessment efforts.

The dolphin carcasses were taken to the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge and Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Fort Walton Beach, Florida for necropsy and analysis.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Visit the Service’s website at or


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Last updated: April 13, 2011