Keep dogs away from Goodie’s Beach

Seal pups rest at Rockport Harbor beach, public urged to let them be

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 10:30am

    ROCKPORT — Goodie’s Beach, at Rockport Harbor, is closed this morning while two seal pups enjoy a rest in the sand. They seem to be fine, according to Harbor Master Abbie Leonard. They are alternating between napping and batting each other over the head with their flippers.

    “Everything I have learned in training is to leave them alone,” said Leonard, Wednesday morning, May 27. “Usually it will be a tide cycle and they will go on their way.”

    Leonard is currently getting trained in how to respond to marine mammal emergencies through Allied Whale, at the College of the Atlantic.

    I will monitor them,” said Leonard.

    Meanwhile, she is instructing the public to leave them alone, and keep dogs at bay.

    Allied Whale is authorized by the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to respond to marine mammal emergencies and strandings. Allied Whale’s region includes Rockland north to the Canadian border. 

    Southward, the Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center (MARC) at the University of New England in Biddeford, operates the only rehabilitation facility in Maine.

    This is the season for harbor seal pups to land on rocks and outcroppings along the coast. Harp and Hooded seals generally precede them in their propagation cycle late in the winter.

    Leonard is instructing the public to respect the pups at Goodie’s Beach and stay away from them.

    It is illegal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to disturb or harass seals and other marine mammals. 

    In all cases of marine animals, do not disturb or attempt to drive the animal back into the water, stay back at least 50 feet, and prevent further harm to the animal by restraining pets and keeping other people from approaching it, according to the Marine and Environmental Research Institute in Blue Hill.

    “It is important not to disturb seals from late-April through June while harbor seals are pupping and nursing,” the Institute said. “During the early weeks of life, newborn seals are at risk of becoming separated from their mothers by wave surges, illness, predators, or disturbance by people, especially boaters. Kayakers, boaters and picnickers should be careful to stay away from pupping ledges. Approaching boats can ‘flush’ seals from haulout ledges into the water, often separating mothers from their newborn pups.  In many cases, these pups become stranded on local beaches and require emergency intervention to survive.  According to a recent study, this ‘flushing’ reaction is highest when seals are approached by kayaks and canoes (84 percent), followed by motor boats (74 percent). Kayak and tour groups should contact the Institute to learn which areas to avoid.”


    Marine Mammals of Maine
    Stranding Hotline - 1-800-532-9551

    Allied Whale/College of the Atlantic
    Bar Harbor, ME  
    Stranding Hotline - 207-288-5644 

    Marine Animal Rescue Center (MARC) University of New England 
    Biddeford, ME  
    Stranding Hotline - 207-288-5644 

    NOAA Fisheries Northeast 
    Gloucester, MA  
    Stranding Hotline – 978-281-9351

    New England Aquarium 
    Boston, MA
    Stranding Hotline – 617-973-5247

    Mystic Aquarium
    Mystic, CT 
    Stranding Hotline – 860-572-5955

    Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research
    Riverhead, NY
    Stranding Hotline – 631-369-9829

    Marine Mammal Stranding Center 
    Brigantine, NJ
    Stranding Hotline – 609-266-0538

    Marine Education, Research, and Rehabilitation Institute 
    Nassau, DE
    Stranding Hotline – 302-228-5029

    Maryland Department of Natural Resources
    Oxford, MD
    Stranding Hotline – 800-628-9944

    Virginia Marine Science Museum 
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Stranding Hotline – 757-437-6159