Did you know that SR3has established their first marine animal rehabilitation center in Washington State on the grounds of Des Moines Marina? Yes, SR3has signed a lease agreement with the City of Des Moines, and their new facility is now in place. The modular units serve as a rehab and release facility, which is planned to be operational by summer 2020.

Who or What is SR3? This non-profit organization is dedicated to assisting entangled or injured marine animals and providing rehabilitation as needed. SR3also conducts research through rehabilitation, documentation, and aerial images of whale pods and other marine animals. Collecting comparative data on the seasonal body condition of killer whales helps guide conservation measures and the availability of prey. SR3also assesses the health of gray whales that stopover in Puget Sound to feed each spring.

How You Can Help? Boaters can lend their support by keeping a lookout for whales that may be entangled in fishing gear, or whales that appear to be swimming oddly. Report entanglement sightings to NOAA Fisheries Entanglement Hotline at 877-767-9425, or call the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF Ch 16. Keep the legal distance from whales, but do keep track of the whale’s location until authorized responders and entanglement specialists arrive. Unfortunately, an entangled whale is rarely found if their whereabouts is not monitored. You can further help by documenting the fishing gear or debris that has caused the entanglement and take photos. Your documentation will help SR3determine when, where, and how the whale became entangled, whether the whale survives, and the impact to whale populations.

Boaters who want to learn more about how to assess, document, and report entangled marine animals can take a Level 1 U.S. Whale Entanglement Course online. While this course does not qualify you to perform or assist in the actual process of disentangling a whale, the course does provide valuable information and understanding so that your observations and reporting are helpful and effective. To take the online course, go to:  west-coast-training.whaledisentanglement.org.

Reports of entangled humpback and gray whales on the West Coast have increased over the years, with the highest percentage of reports being received in May. This increase is due to a variety of factors, including the increased population of humpback whales, prey that has shifted locations, and greater public awareness. To learn more about SR3, or to make a financial donation, go to Sealifer3.org.

Sealife Website

To learn more about SR3, or to make a financial donation, go to Sealifer3.org.