Phone Book Calls on Boaters to Track Bottlenose Dolphins

Times Staff Writer

An Orange Coast College professor's efforts to track dolphin migration off Southern California have gotten a boost from a company that publishes yellow pages for an estimated 200,000 boat owners in the region.

The firm--NYNEX (New York, New England Telephone Co.)--announced this week that the front page of its new telephone directory for boaters will carry a guide showing how to help monitor the travels of the endangered marine mammals.

Dennis Kelly, a professor of marine biology at the Costa Mesa community college who also heads the Coastal Dolphin Survey Project, said he welcomes the free front-page ad.

"We must avoid a repetition here of the 420 East Coast dolphin deaths last summer, which caused a near-panic as beaches closed in the polluted waters," Kelly said.

NYNEX spokeswoman Janet Bridgers said the inaugural issue of the Southern California NYNEX Boaters Directory will be sent free to the 200,000 people in Southern California who own boats 16 feet or longer.

The directory's front page will tell boaters what information they should log when they see bottle-nose dolphins, Bridgers said. Boaters will be asked to include the date, time and location of the sighting, the number of dolphins and the direction they were traveling.

The guide also will give the telephone number and address of the Coastal Dolphin Survey Project, which monitors fluctuations in the dolphin population, Kelly said.

An estimated 600 of the dolphins frequent the waters from San Diego to Santa Barbara. The animal is threatened by increasing levels of pollutants, offshore oil and gas drilling and commercial fishing, Kelly said.

Boat owners may call or send sighting reports to: Dennis Kelly, Marine Science Department, Orange Coast College, 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, Calif. 92628, or call (714) 432-5564.

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