Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator

Brian Sharp

Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research


Brian has been involved with marine wildlife rescue and rehabilitation for a variety of organizations, leading and as part of single and multi-agency teams in disentanglement responses for more than 40 large whales and 35 endangered sea turtles caught in lethal entanglements. He has also lead, or participated in, numerous small cetacean and pinniped stranding responses, as well as the rescue of more than 15 manatees.

At IFAW, Brian leads a team of five staff and more than 200 highly trained volunteers on rescue responses in one of the world’s top marine mammal stranding hotspots. As Stranding Coordinator, he leads the MMRR team in providing response training for IFAW locally and internationally.

As a US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) permitted Level 5 responder, Brian is one of only a handful of people (less than 10) authorized to disentangle all whale species, including the endangered North Atlantic right whale, within US waters.

After leaving his position as Assistant Stranding Coordinator for the Cape Cod Stranding Network (now IFAW Marine Mammal Rescue and Research), Brian continued to serve as a volunteer responder at marine mammal strandings during his tenure at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies and provided expertise in satellite tracking of released animals to the IFAW team. Before re-joining IFAW Brian was instrumental in establishingthe Massachusetts Sea Turtle Disentanglement Network which coordinates training and response for sea turtle entanglements throughout Massachusetts .


Rescue Operations Coordinator, Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, USA

Assistant Stranding Coordinator, Cape Cod Stranding Network/IFAW, USA

Field Biologist, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, USA

Animal Care Specialist, Sea World of Florida, USA


Bachelor of Science (BSc), Animal Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA

OSHA Oiled Wildlife Response Training
FEMA ICS 100, 200, 700, and L-958 Operation Section Chief Training

Publications and Presentations


  • Innis C., Merigo C., Dodge K., Tlusty M., Dodge M., Sharp B., Myers A., McIntosh A., Wunn D., Perkins C., Herdt T., Norton T. and Lutcavage M., (2010) Health Evaluation of Leatherback Turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) in the Northwestern Atlantic During Direct Capture and Fisheries Gear Disentanglement. Chelonian Conservation and Biology: December 2010, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 205-222.


  • Landry S., Sharp B. and Dodge K., (2010) Using patterns of injury to assess prior entanglement in leatherback sea turtles. National Marine Animal Health and Stranding Network Conference, Shepherdstown, WV. 
  • Sharp B., (2008) Sea Turtle Disentanglement Network Response and Equipment. Workshop on Interactions Between Sea Turtles and Vertical Lines on Fixed Gear Fisheries, Narragansett, RI.
  • Sharp B., Landry L., Dodge K. and Merigo C., (2007) Using two leatherback disentanglement cases to understand the benefits of an organized disentanglement response.  Northeast Region Stranding Conference, Atlantic City, NJ.
  • Sharp B., Bowman R., Landry S., Mayo C., Morin D., (2005) Entangled North Atlantic right whale sightings from November 2004 – October 2005. North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium, New Bedford, MA.


  • Sharp B. and Landry S., (2008) Understanding entanglement through disentanglement a preliminary characterization of sea turtle bycatch in Southern New England, USA. International Sea Turtle Society Symposium. Loreto, Mexico.
  • Sharp B. and Landry S., (2007) Formalizing a disentanglement network: Massachusetts Sea Turtle Disentanglement Network, 2005-2006. International Sea Turtle Society Symposium, Myrtle Beach, SC.
  • Sharp B., Bowman R., Landry S., Mayo C., and Morin D., (2005) Atlantic Large Whale Disentanglement Network – 2004/2005. 16th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, San Diego, CA.