Thursday, August 16, 2018
There has been a high number of harbor seals stranding in southern Maine starting in July with increasing numbers stranding over the last week. We are now also seeing increasing numbers of stranded harbor seals in New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts.
Cause of the recent strandings is unknown at this time. During elevated stranding events such as this, members of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network collaborate with NOAA to further investigate environmental conditions, common factors contributing to past stranding events, and any potential human impacts.
Samples from seals have been collected throughout the summer, and will continue to be collected as new cases are documented.They will be tested for possible pathogens that have caused seal die-offs in the past, including avian influenza, phocine distemper virus, and harmful algal blooms.
If you see a sick or injured seal, please call the NOAA hotline: 866-755-NOAA (6622). Please be patient, as the stranding response teams are very busy!
For your safety and theirs, do not touch a stranded seal, don’t allow pets to approach the seal, and observe the animal from a safe distance of 100 yards.
NOAA Fisheries update page regarding the Maine seal mortalities: