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Bottlenose Dolphin Conservation

Like all marine mammals, bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). They inhabit temperate and tropical oceans, seas, and estuaries throughout the world, where they are exposed to a variety of factors including noise, contaminants, physical disturbance, reduction of prey, and entanglement in nets and fishing lines. Unless we understand and minimize the consequences of these factors, bottlenose dolphins may not be around for future generations to admire and appreciate.

The Southeast Regional Office has developed and established several programs and strategies to address bottlenose dolphin management and conservation issues specific to the southeast region. Southeast region management and conservation challenges include: feeding and harassment, depredation (dolphins stealing bait and/or catch from recreational fishing gear), and serious injuries and deaths incidental to commercial fishing operations.

Photo courtesy of the Dolphin Ecology Project
under authority of NMFS permit # 911-1722-00

Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan (BDTRP)

The goal of the BDTRP is to reduce serious injuries and deaths of the Western North Atlantic coastal bottlenose dolphin from incidental entanglement in nine U.S. commercial fisheries.

The Southeast Region's Protect Dolphins Campaign

The Protect Dolphins Campaign is a national education and outreach effort, seeking to protect wild dolphins from harmful human interactions, and illegal activities, such as feeding and harassment.

Responsible Viewing

Human and Recreational Fishery Interaction

The Dolphin SMART program

Dolphin SMART is a unique, voluntary recognition and education program offering participation incentives for commercial dolphin viewing businesses that voluntarily follow the "program criteria," and educate their customers about the importance of responsible viewing of wild dolphins. To learn more about the Dolphin SMART program please


For more information about bottllenose dolphin conservation, please contact Stacey Horstman.






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Last Updated: March 18, 2013

NOAA Fisheries Service, SE Region Office Building