Newburyport, MA — Seacoast Science Center Marine Mammal Rescue (MMR) has officially expanded its territory beyond the New Hampshire coast and is now responsible for responding to all calls of marine mammals on the shore from Essex, MA, north to the New Hampshire/Maine border.
In 2014, NOAA Marine Fisheries granted a stranding agreement to the Seacoast Science Center for the New Hampshire region, a territory previously managed by the New England Aquarium. At that time there was also a gap in coverage in northern MA. The Center assisted NOAA with response in that territory and has now stepped up to formally maintain response in that area.
To better serve the northern Massachusetts region, SSC Marine Mammal Rescue has opened a satellite office at Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center in Newburyport. A cache of response and rescue supplies are stored there for easy access, and over the coming months a training session will be held for new volunteers who will live in the area.
All marine mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, enacted by the federal government on October 21,1972. Fulfilling this requirement, the Marine Mammal Rescue team staffs a 24/7 hotline (603-997-9448) and deploys first responders. Collaborating with New England Aquarium and rehabilitation facilities in the region, the Center leads the response and rescue, the Aquarium conducts the necropsies, and rehabilitation facilities care for and release animals.
What to do if you spot a live or dead marine mammal on shore:
- Call the Seacoast Science Center’s 24-hour Marine Mammal Rescue hotline at 603-997-9448
- Report the exact location, if it’s live or dead, and details about it’s size, coloring, and behavior
- Always maintain a safe distance (at least 150 feet) from the animal to avoid injury to you or the animal.
You can learn about the most common marine mammal species that inhabit our waters and about MMR’s work at the Marine Mammal Rescue exhibit at the Seacoast Science Center in Odiorne Point State Park in Rye or online at www.seacoastsciencecenter.org/marine-mammal-rescue/. To keep up-to-date with the MMR’s most current response and rescue efforts, follow them at www.facebook.com/nhmarinemammalrescue.
Because federal support is extremely limited, the Seacoast Science Center must raise funds to operate the Marine Mammal Rescue program and to stay equipped to respond to not only a predicted average number of cases, but also emergency situations, such as a whale stranding or an unusual marine mammal mortality event. Donations can be made online here, or by mail: Seacoast Science Center, 570 Ocean Blvd., Rye, NH.