Nov 9 - Dec 31, 2017

Marine Life Studies

Mission

Committed to protecting our ocean, whales, dolphins & other marine wildlife. Our mission is to acquire knowledge & share knowledge & inspire the next generation of whale, dolphin & ocean conservationists. We acquire knowledge through on-going research, share & utilize that knowledge to encourage conservation, & inspire the public, especially children, with our educational programs.

The Big Idea

Save more whales from suffering a slow, painful death from life-threatening entanglements by maintaining the WET® support vessel and training WET® volunteers.

Our big idea is an ongoing project. Our Whale Rescue Research Vessel is managed and maintained as a rapid deployment first response vessel accommodating all tools/equipment/personnel needed for Whale Entanglement Team (WET)® to free whales from life-threatening entanglements. Also, it’s a training platform for WET® volunteers via our Research Scientist Program. Trainees learn to understand whale behavior, situation complexity, data collection, Incident Command, and vessel operations. WET’s continual training is crucial for successful disentanglement responses. We save whales from a painful death and collect critical data at responses that facilitate new practices, tools, and gear to mitigate future entanglements. WET® is a group of unpaid professional volunteers trained to disentangle large whales under NOAA’s Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program permit. In 2016, 71 separate cases of entangled whales were reported off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, California, and neighboring countries with gear from U.S. fisheries. This is the highest annual total for the U.S. West Coast since NOAA Fisheries started keeping records in 1982. We need WET® now more than ever.

Marine Life Studies’ Whale Entanglement Team (WET)® is an integral part of saving whales in NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. WET® provides skilled expertise, tools, data collection, a support vessel and other assets to help save and disentangle whales from fishing gear. We are indebted to this team of dedicated volunteers for all of their efforts to free whales, and thank them for their valuable service.

Paul Michel, Superintendent, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

— Paul Michel, Monterey