A bottlenose dolphin was entangled in a crab pot buoy-line. Struggling to get up to the surface for air, it was eventually freed. CONTRIBUTED

FL - DPMMR team frees entangled dolphin off Layton Key

On Saturday afternoon, April 18, 2020, an experienced team from Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder (DPMMR) freed a bottlenose dolphin entangled in a crab pot buoy-line. Aided by FWC, the DPMMR team successfully removed all the gear from the 7-foot male dolphin that was fighting for his life.

Struggling to reach the surface for air against a rising tide and strong currents, the dolphin was nearing exhaustion when DPMMR and FWC arrived by boat. Following a 15-minute intervention to safely disentangle the dolphin, he was returned to native waters of the Florida Bay, with superficial injuries. A post-release monitoring effort insured the dolphin was stable and able to resume normal swimming and breathing behavior.

Fortunately, local fishing guides Brian and Michelle Meszaros spotted the dolphin and immediately called the FWC Wildlife Hotline (1-888-404-FWCC). They then remained on-site to monitor the dolphin and provide updates. FWC dispatch notified DPMMR stranding coordinator and alerted FWC Officer Mike Alvarez who was nearby. With support from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), DPMMR was given a green light to assess the dolphin’s condition and was authorized to release the dolphin.

“The strong cooperation and coordination led to a safe and successful outcome for this dolphin,” said Steve McCulloch, DPMMR Stranding Coordinator. “We are fortunate that our local fishing guides knew who to call and that we had a trained and experienced team who responded quickly and safely. Like any 911 emergency, the sooner we are notified, the better chances for survival.”

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