North Carolina

Winter means more whales, dolphins stranded on NC beaches. Here’s one story from January

The female common dolphin was found on the beach in Nags Head.
The female common dolphin was found on the beach in Nags Head. Photos courtesy Jennette’s Pier

The call came in over the OBX Marine Mammal Stranding Network hotline Thursday. A dolphin was on the beach just north of Jennette’s Pier, where Mike Remige with the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources picked up the phone.

“We basically just ran up the beach,” Remige said in a phone interview with McClatchy. The staff at the pier are trained as first responders for marine mammals on the beach, he explained, and are the first point of contact when someone finds a stranded whale or dolphin.

He said the network has had five stranding reports this week, including two dwarf sperm whales near Buxton, North Carolina and a possible dead whale Friday morning near Frisco. As of midday Friday, Remige said he was waiting on photographs to confirm what kind of whale beached bear Friscoe.

The winter, he said, is “prime stranding season” for mammals on the Outer Banks.

Data on marine mammal strandings in North Carolina show the numbers of beached whales and dolphins increases starting in January each year and peaks in April, according to the Marine Mammal Stranding Network of the North Carolina Central Coast.

measuring common dolphin.JPG
Mike Preziotti, Meredith Fish and Mike Remige measure the dolphin that stranded near Nags Head Thursday. Photos courtesy Jennette’s Pier

In a Facebook post, the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources staff at Jennette’s Pier explained: “Staff members from Jennette’s Pier respond to a stranded female common dolphin Thursday morning near the Pier in Nags Head. After thoroughly evaluating the six-foot seven-inch long adult animal, it was determined that it had recently passed.”

The post continued, “As volunteer first responders for the OBX Marine Mammal Stranding Network, staff members from Jennette’s Pier respond to calls all year long. In this case, helping out were ... Mike Preziotti, Meredith Fish and Mike Remige who worked together to record vital information such as length, photos and approximate weight. After a field necropsy, the animal will be buried on site.”

Remige said if someone finds a dolphin or whale stranded on the beach, do not try to push it back into the water. “It stranded for a reason,” he said. Trying to move it would add to the animal’s stress. “Let the experts handle it,” he said.

The OBX Marine Mammal Stranding Network hotline number is (252) 455-9654.

A pod of Humpback whales was seen off the north end of Myrtle Beach this week. Rob Young, a professor of marine science at Coastal Carolina University confirmed the sighting and said Humpback and endangered Right whales migrate past the Grand Stra

Whales can become trapped in fishing gear and other lines and ropes along the coasts of the United States. NOAA confirmed 76 such cases in 2017 involving humpbacks, gray, minke, blue and North Atlantic right whales.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer

Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.
  Comments