The slammer dolphin of spring were replaced by a bunch of peanuts. That’s the trend this summer along the southeast U.S. coast, says Don Hammond, director of the Dolphinfish Research Program (DRP). Hammond and his team have been recording dolphin catches from South Carolina fishermen.

“Catches have gone from a solid six to 35 fish per trip, averaging 10.5 pounds per fish, to zero to eight fish per trip, averaging 11.3 pounds,” says Hammond. “Only 17 of 426 fish checked during May weighed 20 pounds or more. In June, 18 of the 162 fish examined weighed 20 pounds or more.”

Increased catches of “schoolie” dolphin usually indicate a decrease in larger fish (though that’s not uncommon during the summer). Waters off North Carolina, South Florida and the Florida Keys are notorious for schools of small dolphin off their shores.

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