Editor's note: This article summarizes a paper given 14 March 2000 at the Marine Mammal and Air Guns Workshop in The Woodlands, Texas, U.S.

In the northern Gulf of Mexico, two cetacean species, the bottlenose and Atlantic spotted dolphins (about 73 000 animals) inhabit the continental shelf waters (<200 m deep). Until the Marine Mammal Protection Act was enacted, knowledge of cetaceans in the Gulf's oceanic waters (>200 m) was generally restricted to inferences from strandings and opportunistic sightings. In 1989, NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) began studies of cetaceans in the oceanic northern Gulf (i.e., U.S. exclusive economic...

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