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Research Priorities and Needs
for Protected Resources in the Greater Atlantic Region

Marine Mammal Rescue (Stranding and Disentanglement Programs)

Tagged Harbor Seal
(Mendy Garron, NOAA Greater Atlantic Region)

Dolphin Rescue
(Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation)


The Greater Atlantic Region Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program was developed to provide responses to stranded marine animals. A stranding is defined as: 1) an event in the wild where a marine mammal or sea turtle is found dead on the beach or shore or floating in U.S. waters; 2) a marine mammal or sea turtle that is alive on the beach or shore, but unable to return to the water due to sickness or injury or some other obstacle; or 3) a marine mammal or sea turtle that is in the water, but unable to return to its natural habitat without assistance. NOAA Fisheries Service authorizes regional stranding network partners along the coast to respond to and collect information about stranded marine animals.

The Large Whale Disentanglement Program was created to respond to large whales that have incidentally become entangled in fishing gear. The Atlantic Large Whale Disentanglement Network (ALWDN), which provides entanglement response coverage from Maine through Florida, was formed in the 1990s as a partnership between government, state, and local volunteers to address entanglement reports with trained, permitted, and properly equipped personnel. This program supplements existing management efforts under the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan (ALWTRP) for reducing injury and mortality of large whales due to incidental interactions with commercial fishing gear.

Right Whale Disentanglement (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)