Another dead whale washes ashore in NJ, this time in Seaside Park
SEASIDE PARK — Another dead humpback whale — the ninth dead whale to be reported in New Jersey since Dec. 1 — came ashore Thursday on the L Street beach.
The whale was reported to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center of Brigantine Wednesday and then to federal authorities at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, said NOAA spokeswoman Allison Ferreira.
"We are working with local authorities and the USCG (U.S. Coast Guard) to actively monitor the whale to see where it might land," Ferreira told the Asbury Park Press in an email Wednesday.
Dan Cole of Toms River watched the whale from L Street on Wednesday as windy, gray conditions drove other onlookers away.
"You can plainly see it's out there. It's bloated," he said.
Thursday's stranding is the 14th dead or stranded whale in the New Jersey-New York region since the beginning of December, according to NOAA.
Other recent strandings include:
Three dolphins that died after stranding at Sandy Hook on Feb. 18.
A dead humpback seen Feb. 27 floating 4 to 5 miles south of Ambrose Channel, New York, according to numerous media reports.
A juvenile humpback died and washed ashore in Manasquan on Feb. 13.
An infant sperm whale that washed ashore Dec. 5 in Keansburg.
Seaside Park Mayor John A. Peterson Jr., who was at the scene Wednesday, wants to halt off-shore wind energy development while an investigation into the deaths takes place. There remains no evidence any work associated with wind development has played a role in recent marine mammal deaths.
"It's a very, very sad day, not just for us in Seaside Park, but I think for everyone throughout the Jersey Shore and indeed throughout the whole state of New Jersey," he said. "The whales are speaking to us. And I think the message is loud and clear that we should pause, stop what we're doing. Something is being done differently in the ocean in the last few months that has caused this dramatic upturn in the deaths of whales and dolphins along the coasts."
NOAA experts said there is no evidence that the noise used to map the ocean floor is leading to whale strandings.
"Although these strandings have generated media interest and public scrutiny, humpback whale strandings are not new nor are they unique to the U.S. Atlantic coast," said The Marine Mammal Commission, an independent government agency tasked with evaluating human impacts on marine mammals.
NOAA has documented unusual numbers of deaths of humpbacks, North Atlantic right whales and minke whales dating back to 2016 and 2017.
About 40% of dead humpback whales evaluated — about half were too decayed by the time they beached to be thoroughly examined — showed evidence of ship strikes or entanglement with fishing gear before their deaths, according to NOAA.
Amanda Oglesby is an Ocean County native who covers Brick, Barnegat and Lacey townships as well as the environment. She has worked for the Press for more than a decade. Reach her at @OglesbyAPP, firstname.lastname@example.org or 732-557-5701.
When Jersey Shore native Dan Radel is not reporting the news, you can find him in a college classroom where he is a history professor. Reach him @danielradelapp; 732-643-4072; email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Dead humpback whale washes ashore in Seaside Park NJ