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Dead Dolphin Found with Missing Fins and Tail in Queens, New York

June 11, 2024

NOAA Office of Law Enforcement is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information.

Dead bottlenose dolphin on the beach. Bottlenose dolphin. Credit: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

On May 27, the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society responded to a report of a dead dolphin on the west side of Beach 8th Street in Far Rockaway in Queens, New York. The dolphin was found with its dorsal fin, a pectoral fin, and tail removed. The NOAA Office of Law Enforcement and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation learned that video may exist on social media documenting the dismemberment of the dolphin. The Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits the possession of a marine mammal or any part from a marine mammal—including if those parts were taken after the animal died. 

Map of location where dead dolphin was found. Far Rockaway, Queens, New York
Location dolphin was found, Far Rockaway in Queens, New York. Credit: Google Earth

NOAA Office of Law Enforcement is investigating the incident, and we are asking the public for any information about who may have been involved. We are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to a criminal conviction or the assessment of a civil penalty.

Anyone with information about this incident should call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at (800) 853-1964. You can leave tips anonymously, but to be eligible for the reward you must include your name and contact information.

We are looking for information leading to one or all of the following:

1. Successful identification and/or

2. Successful prosecution for the person(s) responsible

3. Arrest, conviction, or civil penalty assessment

Bottlenose dolphins are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Violations can be prosecuted civilly or criminally and are punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and up to 1 year in jail per violation. Report any injured, entangled or dead marine mammals to the Greater Atlantic Marine Mammal Stranding Network 24-hour Hotline at (866) 755-6622.

Last updated by Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office on June 12, 2024