NOAA grants to aid marine mammal rescue and stranding programs

September 1, 2016 Today, NOAA Fisheries awarded nearly $3 million in grants to support the conservation and recovery of protected marine species through stranding response and marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation.
Two Hawaiian monk seals, Pearl and Hermes, are undergoing rehabilitation at the Ke Kai Ola hospital in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. "Ke Kai Ola" is Hawaiian for "The Healing Sea."

Through the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program, NOAA awarded 32 grants to nonprofit organizations, aquariums, universities, and coastal state, local and tribal governments that are members of the National Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

Recipients will use their award funds to respond to marine mammal strandings, improve capacity at their facilities, and conduct scientific investigations into the causes of stranding events and unusual mortality events. Funding will also be used to help recover marine mammals that NOAA Fisheries has designated “Species in the Spotlight,” all of which have a high risk of extinction in the near future.

“Our stranding network partners provide us valuable environmental data by collecting information from stranding and rescue events,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. “They help NOAA establish links between marine mammal health and the health of coastal ecosystems and communities.”

Northern fur seals are released after rescue and rehabilitation.
Northern fur seals are released after rescue and rehabilitation. (Marine Mammal Center)

The stranding network’s trained professionals and volunteers serve as the first responders to marine mammals in distress and work to provide humane care to animals in need. They also investigate causes of disease, injury, or illness. NOAA Fisheries relies on its partnership with the network’s members to collect research about marine mammal health needed to develop effective conservation programs for marine mammal populations.

Since 2001, NOAA Fisheries has awarded 522 grants totaling more than $48.2 million through the Prescott grant program. Stranding network partners multiply the effect of the program with matching funds, adding more than $16.8 million to date.

“Ultimately, understanding why marine mammals come ashore will help NOAA and partners develop better protections for them, preserving our ocean environment for future generations,” said Sobeck.

Prescott grants are made under Title IV of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which authorizes NOAA Fisheries to fund eligible members of the National Marine Mammal Stranding Network through grants and cooperative agreements.

Information about the 2016 Prescott grant program award recipients can be found at

Applications for the 2017 Prescott grant cycle are being accepted until October 5. For more information about the Prescott grant program, eligibility requirements, and funding opportunities, please go to

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Kate Brogan,, 301-427-8030