The waters around Connecticut and Long Island are inhabited by several large whale species protected under the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act.
The MoA outlines responsibilities for how NOAA Fisheries and USCG Sector Long Island Sound will effectively respond to large whale strandings and implement the Long Island Sound Large Whale Response Plan. This plan identifies regional assets that may be requested by NOAA Fisheries or designated stranding responders during a stranding event.
Sector Long Island Sound and NOAA Fisheries are dedicated to maintaining a close relationship, along with state and local governments and external marine mammal stranding network partners, to protect large whale species.
Kimberly Damon-Randall, acting deputy regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region, stated:
As a result of increasingly complex large whale stranding events, such as live strandings in Long Island Sound and New York waters, we recognized the need to formalize roles and responsibilities, proactively identify resources, and outline potential response actions for future whale strandings.
The MoA is expected to enable USCG to coordinate more quickly and respond effectively to any future large whale strandings in the New York area.