The Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network (LMMN) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit focused on protecting marine mammals (dolphins, whales, and seals) in South Carolina waters. The Lowcountry is home to approximately 350 year-round “resident” dolphins. These mammals rely on clean, safe and quiet water to hunt, socialize and rear young. Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network is the permit holder for South Carolina Marine Mammal Stranding Network (SCMMSN) which allows the group to respond to sick, injured and dead marine mammals along coastal South Carolina. Through these responses we are better able to understand the threats these mammals face in hopes to better protect them. We strive to do this through increasing awareness about marine mammals in coastal South Carolina, educating the general public on federal regulations and foster young stewards in ways to protect both marine mammals and their environment. The SCMMSN is authorized under a Letter of Authorization from NOAA Fisheries to respond to marine mammal strandings.
Marine Mammals strand seasonally based on their location and species. Approximately 50 marine mammals strand every year in South Carolina, 80% of which are bottlenose dolphins. The SCMMSN responds to and retrieves stranded animals from beaches and waterways in hopes to learn more about their cause of death, anatomy and physiology, distribution, disease and life history. This program needs our help to continue responding to live and dead animals, continue conducting valuable research to help understand why these animals are stranding, and educate the public on how you can help protect these animals.
Marine mammals are federally protected by law under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) which prohibits the “taking” of marine mammals in all US waters. A “take” is defined as “to harass, capture, kill, or feed any marine mammal”. Collecting or harassing dead marine mammal remains is also considered a “take”. Violations can result in fines, imprisonment, or seizure of vessels and licenses.