The best way you can help entangled marine mammals is to immediately report sightings. Only experienced responders who have been authorized by NOAA Fisheries and have the appropriate training, experience, equipment, and support should attempt to disentangle or closely approach an entangled marine mammal.
For large whales: If you encounter a large whale that may be entangled, it is critical to report it as soon as possible, with as much information as you have, to the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF Ch-16 or your local network via the 24-hour regional hotline:
|Maine through Virginia||(866) 755-6622|
|North Carolina through Texas, and the Caribbean||(877) WHALE-HELP (877) 942-5343|
|California, Oregon, and Washington||(877) SOS-WHALE (877) 767-9425|
For dolphins, porpoises, seals, or sea lions: Immediately contact your 24-hour regional stranding hotline or local stranding network and await further guidance.
When reporting an entangled marine mammal, provide the following information:
- Location of the animal (including latitude and longitude, if known)
- A detailed description of the entangling gear or debris
- Where the entanglement is located on the animal
- The behavior of the animal
- Condition of the animal (alive or dead)
- Species (if known)
Photos or videos from different angles and from a safe and legal distance (note that regulations apply to certain species and areas) can provide valuable information to entanglement response teams. If you can stand by the animal at a safe distance until responders arrive, it will be the best help for the animal and response team.
You can also download the Dolphin and Whale 911 Stranding App in the Apple App Store to help report a stranding or entanglement.