Cause of whale deaths remains a debate as an 11th whale found dead off NJ coast
Another whale has been found dead off the New Jersey coast. This latest whale was found floating in the Ambrose Channel – one of the busiest shipping lanes in the region.
This brings the total of whales found dead between New York and New Jersey over the last few weeks to nearly a dozen. It is a pace that has sounded the alarm for many people.
“I’ve had them literally come up to the side of my boat and look me in the eye and there is nothing aside from the birth of my daughter that compares to that experience,” says boat Captain Paul Eidman.
Eidman is a marine fish conservation advocate. He is part of the reason the whale population is back. He helped protect the fish that whales eat. More fish equates to more whales. But he says that the problem now is that there are also more ships.
“The humpback whales are offshore and they actually come through these shipping channels to feed on those fish,” Eidman says.
But a pandemic-fueled rise in package deliveries is not the only big change. Some advocates are calling for an investigation into the survey work being done ahead of offshore wind construction – even as federal authorities say they have not linked that work to these dead whales.
“Right now, agencies are saying…it’s definitively not this offshore wind surveying activity but there’s no evidence to show that it’s not,” says Kari Martin, advocacy campaign manager for Clean Ocean Action.
While anyone questioning offshore wind work is increasingly cast as doing the bidding of the fossil fuel industry, Martin says Clean Ocean Action has a long history of going after oil drilling too.
Eidman has served as a liaison to the offshore wind industry and says that it is not the problem.
“I have to say that it’s a complete fabrication. I have no doubt in my mind it’s something else. I don’t know what that is, but it’s absolutely not the offshore wind survey vessels,” he says.
He says that this is because he has seen the vessels while out whale watching and says that they have been out on the water for years.