AN ALERT TO RESIDENTS OF WALDPORT AND BAYSHORE. WHAT YOU WILL SEE NEXT WEEK AT THE SOUTH END OF THE BAYSHORE SPIT IS A MARINE SCIENCE OPERATION. IT IS PERMITTED AND APPROVED BY ALL FEDERAL AND STATE AUTHORITIES UNDER THE CONTROL OF OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY’S HATFIELD MARINE SCIENCE CENTER AND THE MOSS LANDING MARINE LAB. DON’T CALL 9-1-1.
A marine mammal catch-TAG-and-release operation will be underway next week inside the jaws of the Alsea River at Waldport.
This work is authorized by federal permit (under the Marine Mammal Protection Act) NMFS#16991 issued to Dr. Jim Harvey of the Moss Landing Marine Lab/San Jose State University. Operation coordinators have also been in touch with Tony Stein of the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department, and it has been determined that the operation will be conducted outside of their area of jurisdiction (which would be on the ocean side) and thus the operation does not need a permit from their agency.
This is a collaborative project between OSU and MLML. It is expected that they will have a team of between 12 and 16 scientists and assistants launching up to three outboard powered small boats.
They are planning to conduct harbor seal captures on one of these dates next week:
Tuesday Sept. 9th, Wednesday Sept.10th, or Thursday Sept. 11th.
Researchers will be working inside of Alsea Bay, near and on the river beaches where harbor seals usually haul out.
They will work mostly around low tide. Work will involve catching up to 15 animals that they will temporarily restrained for the purpose of collecting small tissue samples and for gluing telemetry transmitters to the fur on the heads of the animals. These transmitters may remain attached for as long as 6-9 months, after which time they fall off as the glue degrades, or as the animals molt.
It is expected the operation will take about 3-6 hours. Captures will occur near the shore in the water using purse seine nets deployed from 2 boats, or on the shore using hoop nets. The seals will stay on the shore at the capture location until the operation is completed. Animals will be released immediately thereafter. Researchers will have experienced veterinary staff as part of their team.
Information courtesy Dann Cutter, Waldport City Councilor.