BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - A Gulfport resident was shocked by what she saw when she visited the beach in Biloxi Sunday morning. Chasity Burnett said she was walking along the shoreline with her husband when she spotted three dead dolphins.
“It truly broke my heart. I’m 40 years old and have lived here my entire life, but never been lucky enough to see the dolphins. For the very first time, I saw them, and they were dead,” she said.
Burnett said the dolphins were spotted just past the Beauvoir estate.
Moby Solangi with the Institute For Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) says their team has gotten calls about dead dolphin spottings in Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Gulfport and Biloxi.
“It’s very unusual to have all these calls all at one time,” Solangi explained.
He says IMMS is responding to all the calls and investigating what’s going on.
“I believe this is an effect from the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway,” Solangi said. “Some of these dolphins have freshwater lesions on their bodies.”
Solangi said 88 dolphins have died and washed up on the Gulf Coast this year alone, which is the highest number since 2011.
“When these animals start dying, it tells you something’s wrong,” he said.
Solangi says the opening of the spillway is turning the MS Sound into a freshwater lake, which is changing the entire ecosystem.
If you spot a dead dolphin at the beach, you can report it at 1-888-SOS-DOLPHIN (1-888-767-3657446)