Bottlenose dolphin head and the dorsal fin of another dolphin nearby.  Also, a bottlenose dolphin jumping in the air.

Common Bottlenose Dolphin
Scientific name: Tursiops truncatus truncatus

Bottlenose dolphins live in coastal waters throughout the Southeast U.S., including bays, sounds, and estuaries.  People can easily enjoy viewing bottlenose dolphins in the wild, but this also puts dolphins at more risk to human-related injuries and deaths.  Human-related threats to bottlenose dolphins include entanglement in recreational and commercial fishing gear, illegal feeding, harassment, boat strikes, marine debris, and chemical contaminants.

All marine mammals, including bottlenose dolphins, are federally protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).  The MMPA prohibits the “taking” of marine mammals in the wild, including feeding, attempting to feed, 

Feeding or attempting to feed dolphins in the wild is harmful to you and dolphins, as well as illegal.  Learn more about to how help keep dolphins safe and “kick the habit.”  

Swim with Dolphins
(coming soon)

Learn how swimming with dolphins in the wild is harmful to both you and dolphins and may cause harassment, which is illegal.

Tips on how to safely view dolphins in the wild and protect them from harmful interactions with people.   

Learn how to prevent interactions with wild dolphins while fishing.  Serious injury and death of dolphins from interactions with hook/line fishing gear is a growing problem in the Southeast U.S.  

Find businesses that provide responsible viewing tours to see dolphins in the wild.  Look for Dolphin SMART businesses with current year flags and decals before you book a tour. 

This plan reduces accidental injury and deaths of bottlenose dolphins in commercial fisheries along the U.S. East Coast.

Did you know that scientists can identify individual dolphins by the notches, nicks, scars, and shape of their dorsal fin? Learn more facts about the distribution, biology, and behavior of dolphins.  

Resources and links to educate and inspire conservation of dolphins in the wild.   

If you locate a sick, injured, or dead marine mammal, immediately call the Southeast Region Stranding Network 24-hour hotline: 1-877-WHALE HELP (1-877-942-5343).

Report violations (anonymously) including feeding and harassment of wild dolphins to
NOAA Fisheries Law Enforcement hotline at: 1-800-853-1964