NOAA: 260 dolphins dead on Gulf Coast, triple usual number

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Authorities say more than 260 dolphins have stranded across the U.S. Gulf Coast since Feb. 1, triple the usual number.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists say it's too early to know the cause but they're investigating whether salinity changes from high rivers and a Louisiana spillway opening contributed to the deaths.

NOAA says on its website that a number of the dolphins stranded from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle had open sores consistent with freshwater exposure, but such sores are "not uncommon" in the spring.

RELATED: Dolphins wash ashore in France

8 PHOTOS
Dolphins wash ashore in France
See Gallery
Dolphins wash ashore in France
Warning: This gallery contains graphic content.
A dead dolphin lies on a beach of the Atlantic Ocean near Lacanau, southwestern France, on March 22, 2019. - Over 1,100 beached dolphins have been recorded on the French Atlantic coast, mainly in the Vendee, Charente-Maritime and Gironde deprtments, according to the Pelagis Observatory, a marine mammal and seabird research laboratory based in La Rochelle. 'We have dolphins arriving on the coast with marks, we can prove that it's accidental capture but we can not detect what fishing gear has contributed to this.' We need to know exactly what it's happening', said Willy Dabin of the Pelagis Observatory. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)
A dead dolphin lies on a beach of the Atlantic Ocean near Lacanau, southwestern France, on March 22, 2019. - Over 1,100 beached dolphins have been recorded on the French Atlantic coast, mainly in the Vendee, Charente-Maritime and Gironde deprtments, according to the Pelagis Observatory, a marine mammal and seabird research laboratory based in La Rochelle. 'We have dolphins arriving on the coast with marks, we can prove that it's accidental capture but we can not detect what fishing gear has contributed to this.' We need to know exactly what it's happening', said Willy Dabin of the Pelagis Observatory. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A dead dolphin lies on a beach of the Atlantic Ocean near Lacanau, southwestern France, on March 22, 2019. - Over 1,100 beached dolphins have been recorded on the French Atlantic coast, mainly in the Vendee, Charente-Maritime and Gironde deprtments, according to the Pelagis Observatory, a marine mammal and seabird research laboratory based in La Rochelle. 'We have dolphins arriving on the coast with marks, we can prove that it's accidental capture but we can not detect what fishing gear has contributed to this.' We need to know exactly what it's happening', said Willy Dabin of the Pelagis Observatory. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)
A dead dolphin lies on a beach of the Atlantic Ocean near Lacanau, southwestern France, on March 22, 2019. - Over 1,100 beached dolphins have been recorded on the French Atlantic coast, mainly in the Vendee, Charente-Maritime and Gironde deprtments, according to the Pelagis Observatory, a marine mammal and seabird research laboratory based in La Rochelle. 'We have dolphins arriving on the coast with marks, we can prove that it's accidental capture but we can not detect what fishing gear has contributed to this.' We need to know exactly what it's happening', said Willy Dabin of the Pelagis Observatory. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)
A dead dolphin lies on a beach of the Atlantic Ocean near Lacanau, southwestern France, on March 22, 2019. - Over 1,100 beached dolphins have been recorded on the French Atlantic coast, mainly in the Vendee, Charente-Maritime and Gironde deprtments, according to the Pelagis Observatory, a marine mammal and seabird research laboratory based in La Rochelle. 'We have dolphins arriving on the coast with marks, we can prove that it's accidental capture but we can not detect what fishing gear has contributed to this.' We need to know exactly what it's happening', said Willy Dabin of the Pelagis Observatory. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)
A volunteer of the Pelagis Obsevatory examines a dead dolphin on a beach of the Atlantic Ocean near Lacanau, southwestern France, on March 22, 2019. - Over 1,100 beached dolphins have been recorded on the French Atlantic coast, mainly in the Vendee, Charente-Maritime and Gironde deprtments, according to the Pelagis Observatory, a marine mammal and seabird research laboratory based in La Rochelle. 'We have dolphins arriving on the coast with marks, we can prove that it's accidental capture but we can not detect what fishing gear has contributed to this.' We need to know exactly what it's happening', said Willy Dabin of the Pelagis Observatory. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Volunteers of the Pelagis Obsevatory examine a dead dolphin on a beach of the Atlantic Ocean near Lacanau, southwestern France, on March 22, 2019. - Over 1,100 beached dolphins have been recorded on the French Atlantic coast, mainly in the Vendee, Charente-Maritime and Gironde deprtments, according to the Pelagis Observatory, a marine mammal and seabird research laboratory based in La Rochelle. 'We have dolphins arriving on the coast with marks, we can prove that it's accidental capture but we can not detect what fishing gear has contributed to this.' We need to know exactly what it's happening', said Willy Dabin of the Pelagis Observatory. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

A Mississippi scientist says the spillway opening is at least partly to blame for 126 deaths across Mississippi's coastline. Moby Solangi calls it worse than the BP oil spill in 2010, when 91 dead dolphins were found in Mississippi during the entire year.

Read Full Story