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NOAA Fisheries Needs Community Help in Reporting Stranded and Injured Marine Mammals

Contact:        Maggie Mooney-Seus                                 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

                        978-281-9175                                               April 14, 2014                      

 

NOAA Fisheries Needs Community Help in Reporting Stranded and Injured Marine Mammals on Massachusetts Northshore, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard

Earlier this year, NOAA Fisheries announced that it was looking for new members for its Marine Mammal Stranding Network to service communities on the Massachusetts Northshore, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.  To date, no organizations have agreed to take on this role.  As a result, NOAA Fisheries is reaching out to affected communities for understanding and help in the meantime.

“Until we find an organization that is able to help us in this effort, our response to reports of stranded animals is going to have to be more measured,” said Mendy Garron, regional marine mammal stranding program coordinator. “We aren’t going to be able to pick up every animal reported.  The good news is that in many cases an on the ground response isn’t necessary. Often animals like seals are just using coastal areas to rest or take care of their young.”

“We also want to encourage members of the public to continue reporting animals that they encounter. The more information we have about a particular situation, the better we can assess how to properly respond or even if any response is warranted,” said Garron.

Specific things that members of the public can do if they suspect an animal may be in trouble include:

•           To report a stranding, please call NOAA Fisheries Northeast Regional 24-hour hotline 866-755-NOAA (6622).   

•           If you see someone harassing a marine mammal, please contact our Office of Law Enforcement at 800-853-1964.

•           Always maintain a safe distance, at least 150 feet, from the animal to avoid injury to you or injury to the animal.

•           From a safe distance, take a picture and email it to NMFS.GAR.Stranding@noaa.gov.  This helps us identify the species and better determine if response is warranted.

NOAA Fisheries is the federal agency responsible for monitoring marine mammal populations in the United States. In this region, NOAA Fisheries relies on a team of dedicated, trained personnel from Maine to Virginia to assist the agency in carrying out its mission.

The Marine Mammal Stranding Network has been in existence for several decades and is comprised of organizations from the wildlife rescue community, academic institutions, zoo/aquarium facilities, and federal state or local government agencies. The Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program was officially formalized in 1992 under the Marine Protection Act of 1972 after numerous mass strandings and unusual mortality events occurred around the country.  

Network members are volunteer organizations trained and federally authorized to respond to sick or injured dolphins, seals and whales that strand along the U.S. shoreline at different times of the year.  Authorized network members can assess, respond and in some cases rehabilitate sick or injured marine mammals. They also may recover and examine dead animals to monitor causes of death (natural or human caused) that could pose health risks to marine mammal populations, people or pets.

For more information on the Regional Stranding Program (covering the coastlines of Maine to Virginia), please visit our website https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/prot_res/stranding/.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at http://www.noaa.gov or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/noaa.

 

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