Sarasota Bay boaters advised to be mindful of dolphins

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SARASOTA, Fla. - A quick search on YouTube pulls up several videos of dolphins swimming in Sarasota Bay.

One of the oldest known dolphins to frequent the bay was known as Squiggy. First documented in the area in September 1980, Squiggy went on the to be documented nearly 300 times by the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program. Unfortunately, Squiggy died on June 7th after ingesting fishing gear.

“She had a large shark hook in her mouth that was trailing several feet of line as well as three fishing hooks that she had ingested in her stomach,” said Gretchen Lovewell.

Lovewell is the manager of the Stranding Investigations Program at Mote Marine Laboratory and part of her job to investigate dolphin deaths.

“About 25 to 30 percent of the animals that we respond to do show signs of human interactions.”

Summer time is the height of calving season for dolphins and Lovewell wants anglers to practice dolphin friendly fishing.

“The biggest thing is to just be responsible. Make sure you are stowing your line. If dolphins come into the area they are going to scare the fish away so you mights as well get your lines out of the water cause they are better hunters than we are.”

A complete list of dolphin friendly fishing tips can be found at www.dontfeedwilddolphins.org. If you see a stranded dolphin or other marine life, Lovewell wants you to call the Mote Marine Laboratory hotline that is monitored 24/7, 365 days of the year.