State advises protocol when finding dead seals, marine mammals
This year, Maine has seen an unusual number of live and deceased seals wash up on Maine shores. Handling and disposing of these animals is challenging. To address these issues, a multi-agency work group developed guidance for coastal communities, waterfront property owners, and the public in dealing with stranded seals.
First, and most importantly, report any live or dead stranded seals to the Maine Marine Animal Reporting Hotline at 800-532-9551 as soon as possible. Reports are necessary for scientists to document and take samples when possible. Reports will also help researchers determine when the unusual mortality event is over.
The work group created two documents to assist coastal communities, waterfront property owners, and the public:
- Marine Mammal Fact Sheet – A quick reference guide with information on what to do and who to call if you encounter a live or deceased marine mammal on Maine shores.
- Marine Animal Disposal Guidance – A guidance document for municipalities dealing with mortalities, including information on reporting and disposal.
To report a stranded marine animal call the Maine Marine Animal Reporting Hotline at 800-532-9551. Please remember that marine mammals are protected under federal law, and it is illegal to approach, touch, or move marine mammals without authorization.
The Marine Mammal Fact Sheet and Marine Animal Disposal Guidance document are available on Maine DEP’s website at https://www.maine.gov/dep/waste/residuals/index.html.
The following agencies involved in the development of this guidance are: Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Marine Resources, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Marine Mammals of Maine (non-profit organization federally authorized to carry out rescue and data collection efforts in southern to mid-coast Maine).