A cetacean (whale, dolphin, or porpoise) stranding is an occurrence of a live or dead cetacean on land, usually on a beach, or a dead cetacean in the water. Marine mammal stranding can occur for a variety of reasons, including ship strikes.
NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service is the lead agency coordinating marine mammal stranding response in the United States. Each NMFS region has a network of organizations to rescue live animals in distress and conduct necropsies of dead stranded marine mammals to attempt to determine cause of death. To find the stranding network member in your area, visit the
NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources Stranding Network webpage.
To report entangled or distressed marine mammals on the US West Coast, contact the California large whale disentanglement network at: