Welcome to the latest installment of the BayBlog Question of the Week! Each week, we take a question submitted on the Chesapeake Bay Program website or a frequently asked question and answer it here for all to read.
This week’s question comesfrom Tim, who is helping his students with environmental projects. Many of them focus on dolphins and how they are being protected around the world. He asked: “What is being done to protect the dolphins in the Chesapeake Bay?”
Small "pods" of bottlenose dolphins are frequent visitors to the Chesapeake Bay during the summer months. They are most often seen in the saltier lower Bay but have been spotted as far north as Annapolis, Baltimore and the Chester River.
Bottlenose dolphins are not thought to be endangered, but have been considered a “depleted” species since 1987-1988, according to the Bay Journal.
One of the major threats to dolphins that visit the Chesapeake Bay is excess pollution in the Bay and its tributaries. Dolphins depend largely on fish for food. If the fish they consume are not healthy due to water pollution, the dolphins' health can be affected. Because of this, some see the health of dolphins as a true indicator of the Bay’s health.
Other threats to dolphins include getting caught in nets that are targeting other species and boat traffic that may disrupt courtship, nursing or calving activities.
In all of these cases, regulations exist or are being develop to try to protect dolphins and all other aquatic animals. By imposing limits on the amount of pollution that is allowed into the Bay and its tributaries, all of the species that depend on clean water will be more likely to survive.
Those who spend time fishing or boating in the Bay's waters should watch out for pods of dolphins to prevent inadvertently harming them.
Do you have a question about the Chesapeake Bay? Ask us and we might choose your question for the next Question of the Week! You can also ask us a question via Twitter by sending a reply to @chesbayprogram! Be sure to follow us there for all the latest in Bay news and events