The purpose of wildlife deterrence operations is to reduce impacts to wildlife by attempting to keep animals away from oil.
The NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is the federal regulatory agency mandated with the management and oversight of marine wildlife such as, cetaceans (whales and dolphins), including the federally endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW), pinnipeds (seals and sea lions), and other marine organisms. Marine mammals are protected in U.S. waters under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) additional protection provided to endangered and threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
The MMPA prohibits harassing, harming, or killing marine mammals, but has an exemption for federal or state employees if the harassment to marine mammals is necessary for the health and safety of the animals or for human safety. The ESA also prohibits the harassment, harm, or killing of listed species, although it does not have a specific exemption for federal and state employees.
Since the use of deterrents intentionally causes a behavior change and will incur some level of impact, deterrence activities must be consistent with both federal laws that protect SRKWs and must be approved by NMFS. NMFS has pre-authorized monitoring and certain SRKW deterrence activities that can be implemented by the Incident Command under a NMFS permit during oil spills.
The Northwest Regional Contingency Plan (NWRCP) includes a plan for deterring Orca, also known as Killer Whales (NWRCP 9310). Under the plan, all operations related to SRKW deterrence will be directed by the SRKW Deterrence Team Leader within the Wildlife Branch of the Incident Command. Because of the permits and expertise required to conduct this tactic, a representative of NOAA Fisheries or their designee will fill this position.
The table below contains contact information for state and federal agencies, the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, research organizations, and whale watching organizations who may provide expertise and equipment to support marine mammal monitoring and deterrence during an oil spill. The table is intended to be used by an established Wildlife Branch under an Incident Command or Unified Command. Several of the assets on the list are not dedicated to oil spill response, and these assets are considered non-dedicated or Vessels of Opportunity (VOO). It is important that trained assets do not self-deploy. Individuals can be charged with violating the MMPA and the ESA if they engage in whale deterrence activities without the direction of an Incident Command System or if they conduct these activities without prior approval of NMFS.
For techniques related to marine mammal deterrence, refer to NMFS’s Pinniped and Cetacean Oil Spill Response Guidelines (No. NMFS-OPR-52 (2015)) available at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/document/pinniped-and-cetacean-oil-spill-response-guidelines
Supporting information to the 2020 NWACP, including contact information and more information on alternative marine mammal hazing techniques, can be found in the document Southern Resident Killer Whale Oil Spill Resources [PDF, 172 KB]. In addition, NOAA Fisheries has drafted an Implementation Plan [PDF, 346 KB] for hazing of Southern Resident killer whales, which provides guidance for whale monitoring and hazing activities as part of the NWACP.
Marine Mammal Response Resource List:
|Organization||Location||Potential Resources Available||Contact Name||Phone||Website|
|Cascadia Research||Olympia, WA||Cetacean expertise, vessels||John Calambokidis||(360) firstname.lastname@example.org||https://cascadiaresearch.org|
|Friday Harbor Museum, San Juan County Marine Mammal Stranding Network||Friday Harbor, WA||Cetacean expertise, vessels, monitoring (hydrophone), KW Deterrence experience.||Jenny Atkinson||(360) 378-4710 email@example.com||https://whalemuseum.org|
|Makah Tribe||Neah Bay, WA||Cetacean expertise, vessels||Jonathan Scordino||(360 645-3176||Jonathan.firstname.lastname@example.org||https://makah.com|
|Marine Mammal Stranding Network – Central Puget Sound||Freeland, WA||Cetacean and pinniped expertise, vessels, monitoring (hydrophone and sightings), vessel||Susan Berta
|(360) 331-3543 / (949) email@example.com||https://www.orcanetwork.org/stranding-network|
|Marine Mammal Stranding Network – Port Townsend Marine Science Center||Port Townsend, WA||Cetacean and pinniped expertise, monitoring (hydrophone), pinniped recovery equipment||Betsy Carlson||(360) 385-5582 firstname.lastname@example.org||Marine Mammal Stranding Network | Port Townsend Marine Science Center (ptmsc.org)|
|Marine Mammal Stranding Network – San Juan Co.||Friday Harbor, WA||Cetacean and pinniped expertise, vessels, KW Deterrence experience.||Jessica Farrer
Alanna Frayne (Soundwatch)
|Marine Mammal Stranding Network – Oregon (OSU)||Newport, OR||Cetacean and pinniped expertise, vessels||Jim Rice||(541) 270-6830 / (541) email@example.com||https://mmi.oregonstate.edu/ommsn|
|NOAA Fisheries||Seattle, WA||Cetacean expertise, KW deterrence Team Lead.||Lynne Barre
|West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network | NOAA Fisheries|
|Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary||Port Angeles, WA||Vessel||Haley Glos
– Vessel Operations Coordinator
|(360) 406-2085 / (360) firstname.lastname@example.org||Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (noaa.gov)|
|Orca Network||Puget Sound||Cetacean expertise, monitoring (hydrophone and sightings)||Susan Berta||(360) 331-3543 / (360) email@example.com||https://www.orcanetwork.org/|
|Pacific Whale Watch Association||PNW Region||Cetacean expertise, monitoring (sightings), PWWA location app.||Erin Glass||(305) firstname.lastname@example.org||https://www.pacificwhalewatchassociation.com|
|PSEMP Marine Mammal Work Group||Puget Sound||Cetacean expertise, monitoring (hydrophone)||Current Chair:
Dr. Scott Veirs
|Sea Doc Society||Orcas Island, WA||Cetacean and pinniped expertise, vessels, KW Deterrence experience.||Dr. Joe Gaydos
|WDFW Oil Spill Team||Olympia, WA||Cetacean and pinniped expertise, vessels||Duty Officer||(360) 534-8233
|WDFW Marine Mammal Research||Olympia, WA||Cetacean and pinniped expertise, vessels, KW Deterrence experience.||Casey Clark||(206) 503-4244||Casey.Clark@dfw.wa.gov|
|Wild Orca||Friday Harbor, WA||Cetacean expertise, vessel, pipes stored at Friday Harbor Lab, KW Deterrence experience.||Dr. Deborah Giles||(360) 317-0111 / (916) 531-1516 (cell)||email@example.com||https://www.wildorca.org|
|Whatcom County Marine Mammal Stranding Network||Lummi Island, WA||Marine mammal response||Victoria Souze||(360)966-8845 (hotline)||Vsouze56@gmail.com||https://www.wmmsn.org/|
|Sno-King Marine Mammal Response, Seattle Marine Mammal Stranding Network||Seattle, WA||Marine mammal response||Rachel Mayer||(206) 695-2277||Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network||Seattle, WA||Marine mammal response||Robin Lindsey||(206)email@example.com||https://www.sealsitters.org/
|SR3 SeaLife Response, Rehab, and Research||Des Moines, WA||Marine mammal response, cetacean expertise, vessels||Casey Mclean||(425)firstname.lastname@example.org||https://www.sealifer3.org/|
|MaST-Highline Community College||Des Moines, WA||Marine mammal response||Rus Higley||(206)-email@example.com||http://www.highline.edu/mast|
|World Vets||Vashon, WA||Marine mammal response||Dr. Cathy King||(253)firstname.lastname@example.org||https://worldvets.org/marine-mammal-response2/|
|Feiro Marine Life Center||Port Angeles, WA||Marine mammal response||Tamara Galvan||(360)email@example.com|
|Portland State University, Northern Oregon Southern Washington Marine Mammal Stranding Program||Portland, OR||Marine mammal response||Dr. Deb Duffield||(503)firstname.lastname@example.org|