OCEAN CITY — The National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) last week conducted its annual dolphin count along the coast in Ocean City and Assateague amid concerns over the stress of an unusual mortality event that has lingered on since last summer.
The National Aquarium Animal Rescue Program last Friday was joined by a large group of volunteers for the annual Maryland Dolphin Count and the numbers revealed a significant decline over the number counted during the 2013 event, but aquarium officials are not alarmed. Last Friday, around 50 volunteers of all ages came out between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. to help record dolphin sightings at four locations, including the Assateague State Park day-use area and in Ocean City at 40th, 81st and 130th streets.
During the sessions, a total of 53 dolphins were counted at the four locations, which was a lower number than last year, likely due to limited visibility caused by fog. Last year, 113 dolphins were counted during the event, which is in the normal range. In 2012, just 31 dolphin sightings were recorded, representing the lowest total in recent years.