Volusia County’s Atlantic coastline offers a valuable habitat for a variety of marine mammals. While visiting the Intracoastal Waterway and beaches, keep a close lookout for Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, Florida manatees, North Atlantic right whales, and humpback whales.
Many of these marine mammals can be found in this area throughout the year. Marine mammals are an important part of the marine ecosystem and many species are listed as threatened or endangered and must be protected by strict state and federal laws.
How you can help protect marine mammals:
- Keep your distance! Do not approach, feed, or pursue marine mammals. Close approaches or contact by humans may cause marine mammals to become unwary and aggressive toward people.
- Never push stranded (or washed ashore) animals back into the water! Animals that are found on the shore need specialized attention. Contact Beach Safety at 386-239-6414 in Volusia County to report live or dead stranded marine animals or 1-888-404-FWCC for response statewide.
- Report all right whale sightings immediately by calling 1-888-979-4253.
- Watch out for marine mammals when boating! To prevent boat strikes, pole or paddle through areas where manatees congregate and put your boat engine into neutral if approached by a marine mammal.
- Avoid fishing in areas where marine mammals are actively feeding! Animals that feed on bait are more susceptible to fishing line entanglement or boat collisions and may lose their ability forage for natural food items.
- Don’t splash your trash! Wildlife can ingest or get entangled in debris not disposed of properly. Many marine animals are harmed and killed every year from trash floating in the ocean.