StrandCon 2016

Staff attends national conference for marine mammals

By Marine Program Manager Jeff Hallmarine-mammal-stranding-conference

CWC is permitted by NOAA Fisheries to perform all the exciting things that come with marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation. As a member of the West Coast Region Stranding Network, CWC staff attends regional and national conferences to collaborate with other organizations from across the US, learning tips and tricks, improving knowledge of protocols, and gaining insight into new and emerging problems affecting marine mammals.

For all the hours I have sat in conferences, listening to lectures, and watching PowerPoint presentations, one of the main problems that seems to be at the top of many scientists’ lists is marine debris. Marine debris is just like the litter you see on the side of the freeway, but in our oceans.  Most of the ocean’s marine debris comes from land-based sources like freeways.  Trash thrown out of cars or that flies out of the back of trucks is washed straight out to the ocean through storm drain systems. Marine debris has always been a personal issue for me because one of the first marine mammals I ever rescued as a volunteer at CWC was a Guadalupe fur seal entangled in a balloon ribbon.  Luckily, that fur seal was rescued and received the care it needed, but many animals are not so lucky.  Many marine animals ingest trash in the ocean and that can lead to a number of problems, including death due to starvation. The outlook is not all doom and gloom!  The main fact I took away from the National Stranding Network Conference is that there was a conference hall filled with over 200 of the smartest and most dedicated people, all working together to create a healthier environment for marine mammals.  In doing so, we are creating a better world for ourselves.