Colton Singleton said the group was helping the bottlenose dolphin get fishing line from around its flipper. One person was seen using a light from an iPhone.

Colton Singleton

The Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network responded to a viral social media post of an angler catching a bottlenose dolphin in late August on Texas City Dike. Colton Singleton posted a deleted photo of himself catching a dolphin on Facebook on Monday, September 11.

Singleton told the Houston Chronicle that he was fishing with a group of people when he first noticed something stuck to his line. “He said he initially thought it was a shark, adding that it was dark with no lights.” After reeling the hook, Singleton realized he had caught a dolphin.

“I knew we weren’t really supposed to get (the dolphin) out of the water…it was one of those things where you act and help him and save him,” Singleton said. Publishing. “The only reason I pulled him (out of the water) was because he was hurting himself.”


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The group released the dolphin back into the water after untying the fishing line from around its fin.

Following the incident, the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network released some do’s and don’ts in a Facebook post on Wednesday, September 13. “Although well-intentioned, his actions were not the right course to take and could have resulted in serious injury,” the network wrote. “Or kill the dolphin, and even cause injury to those who tried to help.”

The network stressed the need to immediately notify trained marine mammal responders of all stranded, injured or stranded marine mammals. In Texas, report it immediately to the hotline at 1-800-9MAMMAL (1-800-962-6625). The network added that do not try to disentangle the animal yourself and never remove it from the water.

According to the network, dolphin interactions with recreational fishing gear are on the rise. Here are some tips the network hopes anglers will remember:


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  • Never feed wild dolphins. It is harmful and illegal.
  • Never head toward dolphins and swing your line if dolphins are nearby.
  • Reuse the remaining bait. Freeze it for later or share it with your fishing neighbor.
  • Change locations if dolphins show interest in bait or fishing.
  • Calmly release your catch away from the dolphins.
  • Use round and corrosion-resistant hooks (non-stainless steel).
  • Fishing line recycling.

(tags for translation) Texas Marine Mammal Network

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