Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Event Contingency Fund

Congress established the Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Event Contingency Fund in 1992. It gave the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program special authority to gather private donations to help it investigate and respond to marine mammal unusual mortality events.

Contribute to the Fund

You can donate to the fund online through, or you can donate by sending a check or money order to:

Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Event Contingency Fund

c/o Office of Protected Resources

NOAA Fisheries

1315 East-West Highway

Silver Spring, MD  20910

Telephone: (301) 427-8400

You can also support your local stranding network members by contributing directly to their organizations. We greatly appreciate your contributions.

Use of the UME Contingency Fund   

We will use the fund exclusively to reimburse stranding network partners who respond to stranded marine mammals during a declared UME. Specifically, the fund will reimburse their costs for:

  • Caring for and treating live animals that strand as part of UMEs.

  • Collecting (including by necropsy), preparing, and sending samples to the National Marine Mammal Tissue Bank and other diagnostic laboratories to investigate the causes of UMEs.

  • Collecting important marine mammal health data to inform and improve future UME responses and marine conservation.

Stranding network partners submit requests for reimbursement from the fund. These are reviewed and approved by the working group and NOAA staff in the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program

Pleae note: the UME Contingency Fund is separate from the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program

Why We Respond to Marine Mammal UMEs

Marine mammals are important indicator species of ocean health. When they show signs of illness, they may be signaling changes in the marine environment that will be important to human health and the overall health of our ocean ecosystems. Monitoring the health of marine mammals, especially during a UME, can reveal emerging threats, potential impacts of human activities, and the effectiveness of management actions.

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