Dolphin found dead, tangled in stone crab trap off Marco Island

Published: January 19, 2021 11:04 PM EST
Updated: January 20, 2021 3:17 PM EST

A dolphin in the Gulf was found dead and tangled in a trap, and many have seen disturbing pictures online. Some people watched law enforcement remove the sea mammal from the water.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a bottlenose dolphin was removed from the water Wednesday after it was found dead and tangled in a stone crab trap off Marco Island.

People who watched the dolphin come out of the water say they hope they never have to see something disturbing like that again.

“It was so sad to see such a beautiful animal all chopped up,” Paul Rudolph said.

Rudolph and his wife, Jessie, walk to Caxambas Pass to enjoy the beauty daily, but they were not expecting to see this.

“At first, I couldn’t tell if it was a dolphin,” Jessie said. “The coloring was gone, but then I looked at the nose, and you recognized it.”

A lifeless bottlenose dolphin had been tangled up in a stone crab trap.

“Probably got stuck there for at least a couple of days,” AJ Albertas said.

“Something took a bite out of him also,” Jessie said.

FWC says the dolphin was taken in for a necropsy. Because it was badly decomposed, the official cause is undetermined.

However, because the dolphin was found tangled in the trap, FWC suspects that to be the reason for it dying.

Many people were watching when Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve staff brought in the dolphin found about a half of a mile off shore.

“I was bummed out,” Albertas said. “I think the bigger picture to look at is are there safer ways to hunt for lobsters and crabs than having a big rope in the middle of the water.”