In progress: 30-year review

Atlantic Marine Conservation Society's “AMSEAS” staff has been collecting data on stranded marine mammals and sea turtles in New York waters for more than 25 years. The time has come to review this information and analyze the stranding trends.

Marine mammals and sea turtles have changed over the last three decades from the occasional whale, dolphin, seal and sea turtle strandings to the regular seasonal occurrence of on average 200 animals a year in New York alone. The resurgence of whale sightings in the New York Bight has been coupled with the increase in large whale strandings from the rare occurrence every few years to on average one a month in the last two years.

The declaration of four unusual mortality events (By NOAA Fisheries) in the northwest Atlantic in the last two years is unprecedented. Analyzing historical data is essential to understanding changing trends to identify when a crisis is really occurring.

The baseline data regarding marine mammal and sea turtle species make up, age class, distribution, and challenges they face in New York waters is important to look at when discussing the changes that are occurring. This data review will enable AMSEAS to continue to develop critical response practices, understand response needs moving forward and be better prepared for the future by learning from what has happened in the past.