A pod of seven dolphins in the harbour at Heart'd Delight had been blocked by sea ice since at least Sunday. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

Community effort saves trapped dolphins in Heart’s Delight, N.L.

There are a lot of happy hearts in the town of Heart’s Delight-Islington in southeastern Newfoundland after local volunteers managed to free a pod of dolphins trapped by sea ice in the town’s harbour on Thursday.

The community effort included contractors and fishermen, the local fire department, federal fisheries officials and Newfoundland’s Whale Release and Strandings Program, which works to free marine mammals that get entangled in fishing gear.

Residents of Heart’s Delight marshalled their resources, including private boats and backhoes, to help a pod of seven dolphins that had been trapped in the shallow water close to shore by a field of heavy ice since Sunday.

“Everybody has come out here until dark at night keeping an eye on them, hoping they’re going to get safely back out,” Charles Sooley, a retired fisherman from the area, told CBC reporter Zach Goudie.

The Canadian Coast Guard had sent a vessel to the small fishing outport in the Bay of Trinity to try to break up the ice field but the area where the dolphins were trapped was too shallow for it.

Eventually, using two excavators operating from the town’s wharf, local volunteers managed to create a channel of open water for the dolphins to swim out into the bay, accompanied by joyful cheers and blaring fire sirens of the volunteer fire department.

Based on reporting by Zach Goudie, CBC News

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