Dead whales along the coastline prompt federal investigation

A dead whale washed ashore in Toms River. A dead whale washed ashore in Toms River.
JERSEY SHORE -

Federal authorities have launched an investigation after a series of dead whales washed up along the United States coastline, including several at the Jersey Shore.

A 43-foot Sei whale washed ashore in Toms River Wednesday. Crews had to cut up the whale because it was so badly decomposed. It was removed from the beach later that evening. Officials were not able to determine the cause of death.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries reports that 41 dead humpback whales have washed up on beaches from Maine to North Carolina over the last year and a half. This prompted NOAA to issue an Unusual Mortality Event.

“NOAA Fisheries will work with experts to review data from the 41 cases sampling data and analysis,” says NOAA Fisheries stranding coordinator Mendy Garron.

Officials say that no data supports any widespread change in the number of deceased whales. But the data does show a higher number of boat and whale collisions. Of the 41 dead humpback whales found, 10 were determined to have been killed by boat strikes.

“A vessel of any size can harm a whale, smaller vessels tend to be propeller strikes and larger vessels appear to be blunt trauma, so it could be a vessel of any size,” says NOAA Fisheries large whale recovery coordinator Greg Silber.

NOAA says that scientists will continue to look at all factors to determine why the whales have died, including boat strikes, ocean temperatures and disease.

Scientists say that the humpback population in the northern portion of the Atlantic Ocean is between 10,000 and 11,000.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • Guide: National park sites in the tristate area

    Guide: National park sites in the tristate area

    Statue of LibertyStatue of Liberty

    A guide to the national park sites and trails on Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York City and the Hudson Valley.

    A guide to the national park sites and trails on Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York City and the Hudson Valley.

  • Students organize walkouts over gun violence

    Students organize walkouts over gun violence

    Students from across the country streamed out of their schools on April 20, 2018 in the latest round of gun-control activism following the February shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.Students from across the country streamed out of their schools on April 20, 2018 in the latest round of gun-control activism following the February shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

    Students from across the country streamed out of their schools on April 20, 2018 in the latest round of gun-control activism following the February shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. The protests were chosen to line up with the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.

    Students from across the country streamed out of their schools on April 20, 2018 in the latest round of gun-control activism following the February shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. The protests were chosen to line up with the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.

  • Photos: Devils 2018 playoffs

    Photos: Devils 2018 playoffs

    Wednesday, April 18 2018 5:53 PM EDT2018-04-18 21:53:12 GMT

    A series of photos of the New Jersey Devils in the 2018 NHL playoffs.

    A series of photos of the New Jersey Devils in the 2018 NHL playoffs.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."