August 13, 2018

Port Canaveral increases public awareness regarding dolphins

New signage at Port Canaveral urges visitors not to feed, harass or tease wild dolphins. The new visitor education program is aimed at protecting wild dolphins that swim in and around Port Canaveral waters.

The program is part of an initiative that includes Port Canaveral, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, and Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute’s Marine Mammal Stranding Program to remind the public of the potential effects of feeding marine life, as well as discarding fishing gear such as monofilament line, hooks, and marine rope.

If fed, dolphins can lose their fear of humans and rely on handouts, or they might venture near fishing vessels or people fishing off boats or shorelines to steal bait and hooked fish. Fishing lines or rope can entangle dolphins or cause them to choke on food.

Port Environmental Director Bob Musser and Port Environmental Specialist Blair Englebrecht led a group effort by port staff and summer interns to post more than 40 adhesive-backed placards to concrete pillars, seawalls and pilings at key locations around the port

The new signs warn that feeding, attempting to feed, teasing or harassing dolphins is illegal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and violators could face a fine of up to $100,000. The placards include a phone number to contact the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement to report violations.

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Port Canaveral increases public awareness regarding dolphins