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NOAA Fisheries Service

Updated April 13, 2009
Protected Species Division
55 Great Republic Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930-2276

Dolphin Carcass Recovered in Navesink River

dolphin fin

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After spending the early part of the summer as a group in the Shrewsbury River, the dolphins routinely formed two groups throughout the late summer and into the fall, one staying primarily in the Shrewsbury and the other in the Navesink near the Oceanic Bridge. dolphin 15 usually affliated with the Navesink group.

Related Links
Carcass recovered on April 9, 2009
January 13 seminar page
Audio file (MP3) of Dec. 17, 2008 seminar
NMFS dolphin observation trip reports and photographs
Necropsy Reports (updated Jan 2, 2009)
DRAFT 2008 Status of the western North Atlantic bottlenose dolphin population
Scientific papers
Examples of bottlenose dolphins in poor condition (see frame at right)
  • On Saturday, April 11th, at approximately 6pm, a decomposed dolphin carcass was found floating close to shore near the Oceanic Bridge in the Navesink River. 
  • The carcass was found by Rumson Police Department.
  • The local stranding network organization (Marine Mammal Stranding Center) responded and conducted a necropsy on Sunday, April 12th.  Samples collected included teeth and muscle.  The stomach was empty, except for a small hook which was collected for further analysis. 
  • As with the carcass found on April 7th, it is too soon to tell if this individual found on April 11th is from the group of 16 dolphins.  The carcass is too decomposed to make an accurate match with the photo-id catalogue, which uses dorsal fins and visible body markings to identify and track individual animals. 
  • It is also too soon to tell when or where this dolphin may have died.  Carcasses from different species of marine life (dolphins, turtles, sharks, etc.,) have floated into the area before, so it is possible this animal died outside of Sandy Hook Bay and was brought into the Bay with the currents and tides. 
  • NOAA/NMFS’ Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program is making arrangements for samples to be analyzed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History to determine age, sex, population stock and possible cause of death.  Tissue samples will also be tested by the NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center.
  • NOAA/NMFS last documented dolphins in the river system on January 13, 2009.  At that time, there were only 5 animals from the original group of 16 remaining in the area (8 dolphins were never resighted, location and condition unknown, and 3 dolphins stranded between September and December 2008).  A local restaurant owner and his staff observed multiple dolphins leaving the area on January 15, 2009, right before the river froze over.
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(File Modified Apr. 14 2009)