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March 21, 2023

Eight dolphins dead after washing up on Sea Isle City beaches

Two deaths were confirmed at the scene; the remaining six animals were euthanized due to their critical conditions

Wildlife Dolphins
Sea Isle Dolphins Tom D'Intino/For PhillyVoice

Eight dolphins were found washed ashore on two beaches in Sea Isle City on Tuesday. Two were pronounced dead on the scene, and the other six were later euthanized.

Eight dolphins died after the group of marine mammals became stranded the beach in Sea Isle City on Tuesday morning. 

About six living dolphins were found washed ashore at 52nd Street Beach after 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Sea Isle resident Dianne Marshall told Press of Atlantic City. She said that a group of volunteers rushed to the shore to dump salt water buckets on the dolphins and contacted police and first responders, who arrived at around 11 a.m.

Sea Isle City officials arrived to find the group of dolphins moving around in the sand, providing water, hydration and blankets in an effort to keep them alive while awaiting further assistance from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center. The Brigantine-based nonprofit arrived on the scene early Tuesday afternoon, and confirmed the deaths of two dolphins nearby at 50th Street Beach shortly after. 

The marine animal rescue explained on social media that that some of their staff and at least one veterinarian arrived at the site to tend to the dolphins and evaluate their conditions. Rescue crews were seen loading some of the surviving dolphins into pickup trucks and driving away from the scene, NBC10 reported. 

Shortly after 3 p.m. on Tuesday, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center confirmed that the dolphins' conditions had continued to deteriorate throughout the day and that the decision had been made to euthanize the animals to prevent any further suffering. 

"The decision was made to humanely euthanize the dolphins to prevent further suffering, as returning them to the ocean would have only prolonged their inevitable death," the nonprofit wrote on Facebook. "All eight dolphins have been transported to the NJ State Lab for immediate necropsies. We share in the public's sorrow for these beautiful animals, and hope that the necropsies will help us understand the reason for their stranding." 

Several dolphins have washed up dead on New Jersey beaches this year, but Tuesday's stranding was the largest of them. 

On Feb. 18, three dolphins were found dead in shallow water in Sandy Hook, and an additional dolphin was found washed ashore in Avalon on Feb. 28. Another dolphin, though alive when it washed ashore in Atlantic Highlands earlier this year, was later euthanized due to its condition, reported. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told in February that 23 whales have washed ashore in the Greater Atlantic Region between Dec. 1 and Feb. 27. 

The influx of dead marine animals has sparked outcry from certain groups about the state's investments in wind farm development and offshore wind power projects, though the NOAA and many environmental groups have stressed that there's no evidence to support those arguments.