The Alaska Stranding Network is a group of dedicated volunteers and organizations that help support rescue, stranding and rehabilitation efforts statewide. Participating organizations include the Alaska SeaLife Center, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the North Slope Borough, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Alaska Southeast, as well as representatives from native communities and oil companies.
The Alaska Stranding Network works with the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program (MMHSRP) of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to maintain and meet the following objectives:
- Improve the rescue, care and treatment of stranded marine mammals.
- Reduce the health risk to animals, humans, and the ocean environment during response to, and rehabilitation and release of, stranded marine mammals.
- Collect life history, biological, and biomedical data from live and dead stranded marine mammals.
- Develop baseline reference data on the health of wild marine mammal populations, normal stranding rates, and causes of morbidity and mortality; improve the rapid detection of morbidity and mortality events.
- Collect archival samples for future retrospective studies on causes of mortality or illness, including genetics and genomics, and for placement in the National Marine Mammal Tissue (and Serum) Bank and other properly curated, professionally accredited archival facilities.
- Refine and/or utilize comprehensive and consistent guidance for the rescue and rehabilitation of stranded marine mammals, collection of specimens, quality assurance, and analysis of tissue samples.