California Marine Mammal Stranding Network Conference

Last week marine mammal responders from all over the state gathered in San Pedro for the 2012 California Marine Mammal Stranding Network Conference. It was fun to have the opportunity to talk face to face with so many people that I have previously known mostly through e-mail conversations. The member updates were a great introduction to the wide array of programs offered by network members. The dedication and creativity shown by responders who cover hundreds of miles of coastline with limited resources is impressive and inspiring! The scientific program was also excellent. It covered topics that varied from basic science to regulation/forms/website updates to rehabilitation concerns to new capture methods. The species covered were also diverse: odontocetes, mysticetes, sea otters, sea turtles, pinnipeds, and even, brown pelicans. The wet labs were incredibly valuable because they addressed daily concerns. During the labs responders were able to practice and improve their ability to use the COGNOS database, handle Human Interaction cases, respond to sea turtle strandings and manage a large scale oil spill with significant marine mammal impacts. Of course we give much thanks to the staff of the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium led by Diane Alps. They were wonderful hosts. What a bonus to be able to enjoy the aquarium’s fascinating exhibits during break times. In addition we extend kudos to all the southern marine mammal response organizations and NOAA/NMFS staff and volunteers for their hard work in organizing the conference, especially Jeff Hall and Sarah Wilkin. Thanks to all for a great meeting and thanks to Gayle Uyehara for sharing her photography skills (see below)!

-Nancy

Peter Wallerstein from Marine Animal Rescue describing pinniped capture techniques (photo by Gayle Uyehara).

Sarah Wilkin from NMFS SWR leading workshop on responding to a large oil spill with significant marine mammal impacts (photo by Gayle Uyehara).

Responders from the California Marine Mammal Stranding Network engaged in developing a response plan for an oil spill drill during one of the wetlabs (photo by Gayle Uyehara).

Jellies exhibit at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (photo by Gayle Uyehara).

Eel posing for attendees at the California Marine Mammal Stranding Network Conference held at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (photo by Gayle Uyehara).

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