Advancing wildlife conservation through stranded marine mammal response, care, and community outreach in New Hampshire and Northern Massachusetts.
Seacoast Science Center Marine Mammal Rescue responds to all reports of live (healthy, injured, sick) and deceased seals, whales, porpoise, and dolphins in NH and northern MA (from Essex, MA to the Maine border).
Marine Mammal Rescue Hotline: 603-997-9448
All marine mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, enacted by the federal government on October 21,1972. Fulfilling this requirement, Seacoast Science Center Marine Mammal Rescue staffs a 24/7 hotline (603-997-9448) and responds to all reports of marine mammals that haul out or strand on the shore in New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts (from Essex, MA to the Maine border). The Center leads the response and rescue, and conducts health assessments and triage, while collaborating necropsy labs conduct postmortem exams and rehabilitation facilities care for and release animals.
What should you do if you spot a seal or other marine mammal on a beach?
- Watch quietly from at least 150 feet away
- Keep dogs away from the animal
- Do not pour water on the animal
- Do not offer the animal food or water
- Do not cover the animal with a towel or blanket
- Do not try to move the animal
- Call 603-997-9448 and report the animal’s location, size, coloring, and behavior
Seals belong on the beach.
Whales and dolphins do not.
Unlike whales or dolphins, seals are semi-aquatic and are comfortable out of the water. Most seals haul out onto beaches to sleep, nurse, or to soak up the sun. Seals are cute, but they are wild animals and should not be disturbed. By getting too close, you disturb the seal and could provoke it to bite.
It is illegal to disturb any marine mammal.
People who harass or disturb them are subject to civil and criminal penalties.
Why is it important to respond to every seal that hauls out onto a beach or stranded whale, dolphin or porpoise?
- To protect the public’s health and safety by properly managing sick or dead animals
- To protect the health of stranded animals by reducing harmful human interactions
- To advance marine mammal biology and ecology research by maintaining continuous data flow into the national database
We cannot continue to rescue marine mammals without your help.
Federal funding for marine mammal rescue operations has been reduced. That means the Center must rely heavily on contributions from its coastal communities. Please help keep our Marine Mammal Resuce team ready to respond and give today.
Sharks & Seals
Research shows that great white sharks and four different seal species (harbor, gray, harp and hooded) have historically inhibited the Gulf of Maine’s waters. These animals were exploited by human activities in the past, but thanks to important environmental legislation (such as the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and the designation as great white sharks as a federally protected species), we are seeing their return.
The story of sharks and seals returning to the Gulf of Maine is a conservation success. Yet sharks, seals, and entire marine ecosystems continue to face the challenges of existing in our modern-day world. It’s crucial to support research being done to understand the delicate balance that exists in our waters, and to take the necessary precautions to prevent tragedies from occurring.
Seacoast Science Center teamed up with New Hampshire Sea Grant, Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, and Shoals Marine Laboratory to create a comprehensive guide about sharks in New Hampshire.
Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s Education Director Maryanne Long and SSC Marine Mammal Rescue Manager Ashley Stokes discuss sharks, seals and the importance of maintaining a healthy, balanced ocean ecosystem during a recent WMUR TV9 Chronicle feature.