Long Island beached whale

NEWS: Humpback whale washes up on Long Island

Another humpback whale washed up on Long Island Friday, marking at least the 17th time that one was found beached along the East Coast this year.

The 18- to 20-foot whale was found by bystanders stranded on the shores of Robert Moses State Park around sunrise, officials said.

The Atlantic Marine Conservation Society said it was alerted to a floating whale carcass about one mile south of Ocean Beach on Fire Island Thursday night before the massive mammal washed ashore.

The cause of the humpback’s death was not immediately clear but will be determined by the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society. 

Crews were at the beach removing the carcass with a bulldozer.

It was at least the 17th humpback whale to die between Maine and Florida this year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — something the agency dubbed an “unusual mortality event.”

Seven humpbacks have been stranded in New Jersey and three in New York.

The whale carcass was first reported about a mile off of Fire Island on Thursday.
Edmund J Coppa

At least 36 “large” whales — including four Minke whales in February — have washed up along the East Coast since Dec. 1, according to NOAA data. A number of dolphins have also been stranded.

The alarming surge in beached whales has sparked a heated debate among politicians and activist groups, some of which blame the deaths on the construction of off-shore wind turbines.

A large percentage of whales’ deaths have been attributed to human interactions, like collisions with vessels.

The humpback found at Robert Moses Friday had no external signs of a boating injury, such as a gash, New York State Park Regional Director George “Chip” Gordon told ABC7.

“It’s nothing that we haven’t seen in the past. We’ve had whales wash up. We haven’t seen a larger number than usual at New York State beaches,” he said.

The Post has reached out to the New York State Parks Department’s press office for additional information.

beached whale
Officials said the whale did not appear to have any marks indicating it was struck by a vessel.
Edmund J Coppa

Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, told The Post earlier this month he believes the sonar systems used by vessels surveying the ocean floor to prepare to place wind turbines harm marine mammals’ sense of hearing, leading to more dead whales washing up on beaches.

“The effect of the high-intensity acoustic pulses is unknown, and the excavations are muddying waters for what will be years on end,” Moore said. “It is not reasonable to say there is no possibility of a causal relationship.”

Whales, along with other species affected by the sound pulses, could be guided to their death with strandings in shallow water, collisions with ships and getting caught in fishing gear, he said.

Republican lawmakers in New Jersey said last month they wanted a 60-day moratorium on offshore wind farm development to investigate any possible link to the rash of carcasses.

Nassau County Police on the beach
Crews were at Robert Moses State Park removing the humpback carcass on Friday. The cause of its death has yet to be determined.
Edmund J Coppa

“This activity off our coast is only going to dramatically increase as they begin pile-driving and installing these wind turbines,” state Sen. Anthony Bucco said. “If this is having an effect on our marine mammals now, it could be catastrophic when that work begins.”

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has made offshore wind a top priority during his administration, setting a goal in late 2019 for New Jersey to generate 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035.

NOAA spokesperson rejected a link between the dead whales and the sonar from survey vessels.

Currently, they said, “there is no evidence to support speculation that noise resulting from wind development-related site characterization surveys could potentially cause mortality of whales, and no specific links between recent large whale mortalities and currently ongoing surveys.”

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