clear sky


Laguna Beach

PMMC remains busy following spill, but news is optimistic

(The letter below was an oil spill update distributed last week by Pacific Marine Mammal Center CEO Peter Chang.)

As we come to a close of another busy week, I wanted to share with you all that Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) continues to prioritize, monitor, and actively support in the recovery and clean-up efforts of the October 2 Huntington Beach crude oil spill. As some of you may have seen reported, it appears that the oil spill could be smaller than what was originally projected. This is GREAT news, but nonetheless, the impacts will continue to be felt over the next several weeks, months, and even years.

PMMC’s team of “activated” personnel by the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) continue to be very involved with the official wildlife recovery process and response teams. Our staff has been canvasing the beaches throughout the week, including over the weekends. At this point, although we continue to plan for the worst, it’s been mostly birds that have been recovered and rescued. There have only been three mammals picked up as of the end of yesterday, October 14.

Only one of the mammals was alive, which was a Northern Right Whale Dolphin that PMMC responded to on the evening of October 13 under the direction of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and OWCN. Upon arrival, the hard decision for humane euthanasia was decided that was best for the animal. The cause of death has yet to be determined, and it’s still unknown if the animal was impacted by the oil spill. A necropsy was performed yesterday by PMMC’s Dr. Alissa Deming and Dr. Kaylee Brown, along with our incredible necropsy team. Findings still to come.

In the meantime, we continue to be very busy. 

–In this past week, NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla reached out. They are the designated primary site to handle the necropsy and analysis of all dead dolphins, whales and turtles related to the oil spill, but they’ve been experiencing a shortfall of resources due to continued COVID restrictions, which are much stricter at the Federal level. Fortunately, we were able to respond pretty quickly, and specifically…As of next week, PMMC will be adding an additional paid veterinarian to the team that will be based at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center. She will be leading the development and implementation of all required oil response protocols with regard to dead cetacean and turtles. In addition, she will also be the primary scientist performing the necropsies there. 

–We continue to actively support our other sister agencies in a number of ways. Since the start of the crisis, we’ve been providing shipments of supplies to the Huntington Beach Wetlands and Wildlife Center. We now also have designated PMMC volunteers on-site at their location daily to handle phone calls and other support, as they are the primary triage center for the impacted birds.

More updates to share in the coming weeks, and above all, thank you for your ongoing support. 

Peter Chang, Chief Executive Officer

Pacific Marine Mammal Center

Shaena Stabler, President & CEO - [email protected]

Lana Johnson, Editor - [email protected]

Tom Johnson, Publisher - [email protected]

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

Email: [email protected] with news releases, letters, etc.


Email: [email protected] for questions about advertising


© 2022 2S Publishing, LLC - All Rights Reserved.