Skip to content
All news
  • All news
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Corporates
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent bycatch
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Science
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
  • Stranding
Peter Flood mom and calf

Emergency Petition Seeks to Shield Right Whale Moms, Calves From Vessel Strikes

For Immediate Release, November 1, 2022 WASHINGTON-Conservation groups filed an emergency rulemaking petition with the...
The Yushin Maru catcher ship of the Japanese whaling fleet injures a whale with its first harpoon attempt, and takes a further three harpoon shots before finally killing the badly injured fleeing whale. Finally they drowned the mammal beneath the harpooon deck of the ship to kill it.  Southern Ocean.  07.01.2006

Moves to overturn whaling ban rejected

Last week, the 68th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC, the body that regulates...

Nearly 500 whales die in New Zealand

The number of pilot whales that have died following a mass stranding in New Zealand...

200 pilot whales killed in latest Faroese slaughter

More than 200 pilot whales have been slaughtered in Sandagerði (Torshavn) in the Faroe Islands....

Whale and Dolphin Conservation Joins Marine Mammal Stranding Network

We have good news for any whales, dolphins, seals, and porpoises in trouble from Marshfield to Plymouth, Massachusetts: there’s a new stranding response team in town!

This newly formed team from Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) brings a wealth of experience and expertise in marine mammal stranding response. NOAA is very excited to welcome them to the Greater Atlantic Regional Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

A harbor seal pup is assessed for body condition and signs of injury. (WDC)
A harbor seal pup is assessed for body condition and signs of injury. (WDC)

NOAA oversees the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program. It authorizes the Network to assess the health of live animals and provide triage or rehabilitation when necessary. The Network also investigates the cause of death of marine mammals, such as during unusual mortality events of humpback, minke, and North Atlantic right whales.  

WDC is now authorized to respond to live and dead stranded seals, dolphins, porpoises, and whales. The team, led by Executive Director Regina Asmutis-Silvia, and Stranding Coordinator Sarah McCormack, has hit the ground running. In their first month, they have already responded to several stranding events, including a live, stranded dolphin and two seals who had wounds from recent interactions with sharks.

During a response, the team collects extensive data and samples for diagnostics, research, and education. “Marine mammals play an integral role in our ecosystem, the health of our planet, and our own future. By collecting information from stranded animals, we continue to learn about these important species,” said Asmutis-Silvia

“WDC’s response range is an active habitat for harbor seal pups, as well as a common area for dead whales to strand. We are thrilled to have their support for stranding events,” said Ainsley Smith, NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator. “The team brings passion and years of experience in marine mammal conservation to the Network with the establishment of their stranding response program.”

Asmutis-Silvia gathers data on a deceased common dolphin in Duxbury. (WDC)
Asmutis-Silvia gathers data on a deceased common dolphin in Duxbury. (WDC)

Experts at Marine Mammal Stranding Response

While this is a new agreement, the staff are well versed in marine mammal biology and stranding response. Asmutis-Silvia’s background is in biology and she was a long-time stranding responder for the original Cape Cod Stranding Network. McCormack has worked at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and California Wildlife Center. While on these teams, she acquired experience with marine mammal response, rehabilitation, and necropsy (animal autopsy). 

In the past, WDC staff volunteered as stranding responders under the New England Aquarium, which previously covered the Marshfield to Plymouth area. The Aquarium began shifting its mission towards endangered sea turtle recovery in 2019 and NOAA began seeking an organization to take the lead on marine mammal stranding response in this area.

McCormack states, “We are excited to fill a critical gap along the Massachusetts coastline in the Greater Atlantic Region Marine Mammal Stranding Network. We’re looking forward to contributing to the conservation of marine mammals through stranding responses, while promoting the ecological importance of these animals through community outreach.”

What should you do if you see a stranded, distressed, or dead marine mammal?

If you are in the area of Marshfield through Plymouth, call WDC’s Marine Animal Rescue & Response Hotline at (617) 688-6872. For other locations from Maine through Virginia, local stranding network partners can be contacted through NOAA’s stranding hotline: (866)755-6622. 

WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, is the leading international charity dedicated solely to the worldwide conservation and welfare of all whales, dolphins, and porpoises.

Contact:

Regina Asmutis-Silvia, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, (508) 451-3853, [email protected]

Sarah McCormack, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, (508) 746-2522, [email protected]

RESCUING AND RESPONDING TO MARINE MAMMALS IS NO SMALL TASK. SUPPORT OUR MARINE ANIMAL RESCUE AND RESPONSE TEAM.

Are you interested in volunteering and live on the south shore of Massachusetts?

Fill out the volunteer interest form below.

Share the good news on social media!

Leave a Comment