Protected Resources

Marine Mammal Response

The Pacific Island Region Marine Mammal Response Network consists of cetacean and monk seal response in the main Hawaiian Islands, Northwest Hawaiian Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Pacific Island Region Marine Mammal Response Network Goals

Photo: Stranded Killer Whale. Credit: Hawaiian Islands Stranding Response Group

Monk Seal Response Programs

Monk seal response programs exist on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and the Big Island with some reporting from Molokai and Lanai. On Oahu there is a team of over 50 volunteers who routinely assist NOAA Fisheries Pacific Island Regional Office (PIRO) and the Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) in monk seal response issues.

Photo: Volunteers monitor monk seal pup. Jim Brown

Please see the Protected Resources Volunteer Opportunities page for more information about volunteering with the Oahu and Kauai programs

Cetacean (Dolphin and Whale) Stranding/Entanglement Response

In 1992, the Marine Mammal Protection Act was ammended to include a focus on responding to marine mammal stranding events with NOAA Fisheries designated as the lead agency to coordinate related activities.

What is a "stranded marine mammal"?

A) A marine mammal that is dead and is... B) A marine mammal that is alive and is...

If you encounter a stranded or entangled marine mammal, please call:

Marine Mammal Stranding and Entanglement Hotline
1- 888-256-9840

Why do marine mammals strand?

Strandings are important indicators of cetacean population health and as apex species can be indicators of ocean health. Each stranding carries with it strong conservation messages as some are related to anthropogenic (human induced) causes. Cetaceans can become entangled in nets, derelict gear, and other marine debris such as plastics. Cetaceans are also known to swallow plastics and be hit by motorized vessels. These are all impacts that people can prevent by changing their behaviors in and near the water. Cetaceans also often strand due to natural causes such as old age, disease, and predation.

Marine Mammal Stranding Network

In Hawaii, the Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO) oversees the local cetacean stranding network which is part of a National Stranding Network that includes all US states bordering the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico.

Responsibilities of the stranding network:

Authorized stranding response entities:

In Hawaii, two primary entities, Hawaii Pacific University and the University of Hawaii at Hilo Hawaii Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility, have NOAA Fisheries authorization to respond to and "take" marine mammals for rescue; rehabilitation; release of live cetaceans; and necropsy and sampling of those that wash ashore dead or those that strand alive but die or are humanely euthanized. Hawaii Pacific University is designated to respond to and sample dead stranded cetaceans and SLPDD is designated to respond to and care for live cetaceans with the goal of release back to the wild.

All marine mammal parts are protected by Federal law and should not be removed from the carcass unless authorized. It is important that the remains of a dead marine mammal are untouched as there may be an ongoing investigation to determine the cause of death.

Marine Mammal Response Network Contacts

If you encounter a stranded or entangled marine mammal, please call:
Marine Mammal Stranding and Entanglement Hotline 1- 888-256-9840

For volunteer opportunities:
Please see our Volunteer Opportunities page

For all other inquiries:

Oahu
Marine Mammal Response Network Coordinator
(808) 725-5161

Marine Mammal Response Network Coordinator
(808) 725-5157

Maui
Maui Marine Mammal Response Network Coordinator
(808) 292-2372

Kauai
Kauai Marine Mammal Response Network Coordinator
(808) 346-1592

Kauai Marine Mammal Response Specialist DLNR/DAR
(808) 651-7668

Molokai
Molokai Marine Mammal Response Network Coordinator
(808) 553-5555

Marine Ecologist, Kalaupapa National Historic Park
(808) 567-6802 ext 1502

Island of Hawaii
East
Hilo Marine Mammal Response Network Coordinator
(808) 933-3114

West
West Hawaii Marine Mammal Response Network Coordinator
(808) 987-0765

Guam
Fisheries Biologist, NOAA Habitat Conservation Division
671-735-4032

American Samoa
Wildlife Biologist, Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources
(684) 633 4456

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)
Fisheries Biologist, Division of Fish and Wildlife
(670) 664-6041

Fisheries Biologist, Division of Fish and Wildlife
(670) 664-6044

Pacific Marine Resources Institute
(670) 233-7333

More Information

Newsletters 2006

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Newsletters 2011