Flipper: Fishing friend or Foe By: Capt. Woody Gore

Several years ago people began tossing fish to passing dolphins thinking it was entertaining to see them eat the unwanted fish, this quickly became an issue.

The act of feeding wild dolphins is actually illegal, the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 prohibits feeding or harassing wild marine mammals. Today because people haven’t followed this law, we’ve created packs of highly intelligent marauding saltwater mammals consuming or killing every living fish leaving a boat. People must understand that every time they offer food to a wild animal, they’re conditioning them to associate a food source with humans.

Many dolphin tours/excursions are out to experience dolphins in their natural habit without using the enticement of a food source. I see nothing wrong with these businesses.

On the other hand, it’s my opinion that using fish or food to feed or entice dolphins close to the boat is wrong. Like I said before, if you get caught doing this, you can be fined under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

If you don’t think a problem exists, ask any fishing guide or recreational angler and they’ll tell you the horrors of seeing their catch and release efforts being consumed or killed by dolphins. I see it every time I pull into an area to fish, the minute I stop one, two, three and sometimes four or five dolphins show up waiting for us to release fish.

After reading this article I hope if you do, that you will stop feeding the dolphins!

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