West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network

Pacific Marine Mammal Center is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Established under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), members of the network respond to marine mammal strandings along the California, Oregon and Washington coasts and are apart of a nationwide network.

PMMC collaborates with researchers, educators, organizations and other scientists with-in our field to tackle the issues facing our oceans, marine mammals and environments we share.

This Stranding Network is composed of cooperating scientific investigators and institutions, volunteer networks and individuals in all three states. Other organizations also involved are wildlife and fisheries agencies and state and federal law enforcement. Although response areas are defined geographically, the stranding network members coordinate extensively within the region and on occasion with our Canadian counterparts. Each stranding event is handled on a case-by-case basis and is dependent on local capability, available resources, personnel, and logistics. (NOAA)

Marine Mammal Disentanglement Network

PMMC is a member of the Orange County Large Whale Entanglement Response Team. Marine mammals occasionally swim into fishing gear and marine debris and get stuck, injured, or even killed. Due to the dangerous nature of responding to entangled large whales, our responders go thorough extensive training and many years of apprenticeship to learn the proper techniques and protocols to ensure THEIR SAFETY & THAT OF THE ANIMALS. This work is done under a permit held by NOAA’s Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program. For more information on the disentanglement network please go to: SOS WHALE or call 1-866-767-6114 to report entangled marine mammals.

National Stranding Network

In addition to the West Coast Network, Pacific Marine Mammal Center is an active member of the National Stranding Network. One of PMMC's network partners is Mystic Aquarium, located in Mystic, Connecticut. Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Clinic has been rescuing marine animals along 1,000 miles of the Northeastern coastline since 1975. Working closely with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service and other government agencies, the Mystic Aquarium Animal Rescue Team responds to an average of 30 stranding calls each year while also providing support to other stranding facilities in New England and even California- based facilities such as Pacific Marine Mammal Center. As part of this nation-wide collaboration, PMMC and Mystic are sharing satellite tracking data between the East and West coast facilities as a means to enhance scientific understanding about and understand seal and sea lion behavior.

The scientific team for the 2016 gray seal pup studies includes researchers from NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) and the National Marine Mammal Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Duke University, Mystic Aquarium, New England Aquarium, Marine Mammals of Maine, University of Connecticut, National Park Service, National Marine Life Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/Northwest Atlantic Seal Research Consortium, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

PMMC partners with many local agencies to help protect our coastline. We are not able to continuously police our beaches and ocean waters and rely on animal control, life guards, harbor patrol and other marine agencies to help be our eyes and ears.


The Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) was established in 1994 by the Department of Fish and Game’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) in response to Exxon Valdez and the American Trader oil spills. OWCN is administered by the UC David Wildlife Health Center in the School of Veterinary Medicine. PMMC has been registered with the OWCN as a member organization since 1995. We are actively sending staff and volunteers to trainings through the OWCN, in order to better prepare for oil spill response. OWCN focuses on four core areas to offer the best rehabilitation methods for oil-affected wildlife: Readiness, Response, Research, and Reaching Out.

If you find oiled wildlife in your area, please call 1-877-UCD-OWN or PMMC. Please do not attempt to rescue the wildlife yourself. Untrained individuals may cause more harm than good for themselves and the animal, and can be dangerous. For more information on the OWCN, please visit OWCN.