South Carolina Marine Mammal Stranding Network (SCMMSN)

The South Carolina Marine Mammal Stranding Network (SCMMSN) is administered by Coastal Carolina University (CCU), in cooperation with the Marine Mammal Research Program at NOAA’s Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research (CCEHBR) and the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The network relies on a large number of highly dedicated and qualified volunteers and veterinarians who assist CCEHBR and CCU personnel with stranding response throughout the state. Logistic support is also provided by personnel from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and coastal municipalities and state parks. CCEHBR personnel respond to the majority of strandings in the state and perform most of the post-mortem analyses. The activities of the SCMMSN are supported by the NOAA John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program, and by CCU and CCEHBR.

The goals of the SCMMSN are:

  • To minimize the pain and suffering of live-stranded animals.
  • To minimize the risk of beached stranded animals to public safety and health.
  • To derive the maximum scientific and educational benefits from stranded animals by establishing baseline data.
  • To promote good public relations during stranding events by providing accurate information and a timely response to stranding events.

At Coastal Carolina University, participation in the stranding network also provides valuable experience for students in the Department of Marine Science, the Coastal Marine and Wetland Studies Graduate Program, and the Burroughs and Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies.

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