Coast Guard and NOAA Establish Agreement for Whale Strandings

The U. S. Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in New Haven, Conn., May 18, 2018. This memorandum establishes the framework and responsibilities for coordinated responses to large whale strandings in Long Island Sound and South Shore areas. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Sector Long Island Sound)

The U. S. Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in New Haven, Conn., May 18, 2018.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Sector Long Island Sound)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) Friday.

This signing establishes the framework and responsibilities for coordinated responses to large whale strandings in Long Island Sound and South Shore areas.

The waters around Connecticut and Long Island are inhabited by several large whale species protected under the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act. The MOA outlines responsibilities for how NOAA Fisheries and Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound will effectively respond to large whale strandings and implement the Long Island Sound Large Whale Response Plan. This plan identifies regional assets that may be requested by NOAA Fisheries or designated stranding responders during a stranding event.

“Over the last year and a half, we have developed new partnerships and strengthened existing ones to increase marine mammal stranding response capacity in Long Island Sound and surrounding areas,” said Capt. Kevin Reed, commander Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound.

Sector Long Island Sound and NOAA Fisheries are dedicated to maintaining a close relationship, along with state and local governments and external marine mammal stranding network partners, to protect large whale species.

“As a result of increasingly complex large whale stranding events, such as live strandings in Long Island Sound and New York waters, we recognized the need to formalize roles and responsibilities, proactively identify resources, and outline potential response actions for future whale strandings,” said Kimberly Damon-Randall, acting deputy regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region.

With the new MOA in place, the Coast Guard will be able to more quickly coordinate and respond effectively to any future large whale strandings in the New York area.

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