Pacific Marine Mammal Center Gets Donation To Support Whale Disentanglement Attempts

Pacific Marine Mammal Center

Pacific Marine Mammal Center

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center on Thursday, Feb. 22 received a donation to help fund its efforts to free entangled whales.

The $1,078 check was presented to PMMC at the Ocean Institute by the American Cetacean Society — Orange County. The presentation was made during ASC-OC’s speaker series, which featured Justin Viezbicke, stranding coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Last month, the Ocean Institute’s Capt. Mike Bursk was featured.

Four organizations — ACS-OC, PMMC, Ocean Institute and NOAA participated in the lecture series. They discussed the recent increase in whale entanglements, how the teams remove gear from entangled whales, and how ocean users can help with timely reporting and monitoring.

“These organizations coming together shows great community collaboration,” said Keith Matassa, executive director of  PMMC. “The issues with whale entanglements are much bigger than just one group.”

Viezbicke discussed the challenges the entanglement team faces including lack of resources, information and procedure, and the importance of documentation, research and policy change.

Steve O’Toole, president of ACS-OC, presented the check to PMMC. The funds will be allocated to PMMC’s Whale Entanglement Team which is a part of Orange County’s Large Whale Entanglement Team. PMMC responded to four whale entanglements in 2017.