Young dolphin found dead, tangled in net off Big Island

Photo provided by: Deron Verbeck

Scientists at Hawaii Pacific University are doing a necropsy on the carcass of a young dolphin.

A Big Island tour operator found the male spinner dolphin’s body on Monday morning. It was in the ocean, tangled in a net.

“Wild Hawaii Ocean Adventures” went out on a charter around 9 a.m. off the Kona coast.

They were near the dive site known as “Garden Eel Cove” when they saw the fin sticking out of the water.

“When we first saw it I was kind of shocked once we realized what was going on.  It makes you sad to see this.  This is marine debris out there floating around, just a big chunk of net,” said Deron Verbeck of Wild Hawaii Ocean Adventures.  “And you could see he had been struggling to get it off, because the tail has wear marks where the net was wearing into his tail.”

“It’s just this mixture of sadness and anger and compassion that this innocent animal, minding his own business swimming through the ocean and he’s caught in a net and now he’s dead,” said Julie Steelman of Wild Hawaii Ocean Adventures.

The carcass was transported from the Big Island to Oahu for the necropsy.

NOAA’s Marine Mammal Response Network Coordinator David Schofield estimates the dolphin was about 2 to 3 years old, and weighed about 70 pounds.

The necropsy results should reveal more information about the dolphin, including any health issues he may have had, and what caused his death.


Related story: Dolphin drowns after getting entangled in net off Big Island

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