CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Brennen Nguyen is a fishing guide in Rockport. He was touring Aransas Bay on Tuesday when he spotted a crab trap swimming around. Except it wasn’t a crab trap swimming, it was a dolphin that was attached to it, stuck in the crab trap and a white floating device.
“He was very much in distress. He was trying to get rid of the buoy the whole time I was with him, doing jumps, spinning around,” Nguyen said.
He contacted Texas Game Wardens and the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network who are working together to locate the dolphin who is now lost.
The Stranding Network said they received another call the day after Nguyen’s call, but they are still unable to find the dolphin.
“We did launch a team within the hour of receiving his report yesterday and they searched all afternoon and were not able to locate the dolphin,” Heidi Whitehead, the network’s executive director said.
Whitehead said sometimes dolphin get curious looking at crab traps and sometimes there’s loose line they can get caught up in.
Texas Parks and Wildlife is also helping in the search and said in a situation like this, the dolphin could also be injured.
“Typically it will be lacerations to the fins. Right now we see images of the dorsal fin where the buoy and the line are caught on the dorsal fin so there’s some damage there,” Lerrin Johnson, a game warden for San Patricio County said.
The Texas State Aquarium is also helping to find the dolphin and said there’s a difference between training dolphins at their facility and locating one in the wild.
“The animal that’s out there that’s kind of in question at this time hasn’t been conditioned to some of the different cues that our animal care professionals train these animals at the aquarium to do,” Jesse Gilbert, the aquarium’s COO said.
Gilbert said the crab trap is wrapped around its dorsal fin, so they are working with the two agencies to try and locate the dolphin, but they have not been successful.
If you see the dolphin, the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network is encouraging you to call them at 1800-9MAMMAL or 1800-962-6625.