Local Marine Mammal Contingency Plan
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We propose the "Local Marine Mammal Contingency Plan" to be written into law.
Giving local authorities or properly trained citizens to the right supersede the Federal government and gain the legal right to provide needed rescue efforts when these federally protected mammals become stranded or beached within locally regulated waters.
This week's events in Moriches bay on Long Island have proven that waiting on the Federal government (NOAA) cannot be the only course of action for these animals. It also proved that our Local Agencies, the NYS DEC and the Riverhead Foundation are unprepared for a handling a situation like this.
NOAA, and their affiliate lacked any physical efforts to aid the whale, instead continually stating that they were "carefully monitoring and assessing" the situation. By the time NOAA had vets on-site, it was determined that the whale "looked sick" and needed to be killed.
It is common knowledge that a beached marine mammal must to be kept wet with either towels, buckets or hoses when beached to prevent sunburn, blistering of the skin and damage from gulls. NOAA's lack of presence and lack of delegation of actions clearly indicates their pre-determined decision that the whale would be "euthanized"
The unnecessary death of this humpback has not gone unnoticed by thousands of Long Islanders and many others from around the Country and World. NOAA delayed any attempts of rescue only to bring a vet in four (4) days later to kill it via injection. Officials claimed they were monitoring the whale since it arrived into the bay, but lacked critical information about what lead up to the whale becoming beached.
Federal officials claimed the whale was sick and that whales often beach due to illness - - however eyewitness accounts indicate the whale was previously healthy and may have made a mistake in navigating the shallow bay. The results of the necropsy will surely show evidence the whale was in "poor health", however that is to be expected after four (4) days of stranding.
The entire community agrees that the whale could have been saved by if actions were immediately taken to assist the animal. Local organizations, citizens and local government agencies rallied together and rounded up a dedicated crew of 7 boats with pumps and hoses, to 20+ divers and even a barge with the capability to dredge a path to free the whale without physically interacting with the whale. These dedicated citizens were in place to begin a rescue attempt when the federal government told them to stand down and threatened fines and arrests.
The desired Plan would not permit anyone to act on their own to save a protected species. Rather, it would facilitate a "task-force" comprised local authorities, Fire Departments, foundations and organized groups to be able to handle these situations without needing to wait for NOAA to arrive on-site at their convenience.
We must take action to make change the response system for protected species that find themselves in trouble without relying on a federal agency located hundreds of miles away.
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