Dead whale discovered near Long Branch one day after another washed up on Long Island coast
Two more dead whales washed ashore late last week in the tristate, reigniting a politically charged debate whether wind farm sonar mapping could be responsible for the growing number of marine mammal deaths.
On Friday, a dead 30-foot whale washed ashore at Smith Point County Park in Long Island. A second dead whale was found in Long Branch.
Saturday's whale was first seen by boaters off Deal and Asbury Park. It eventually washed up near the Imperial House Condominiums. More than a dozen whales have now washed up in New York and New Jersey since December. Dozens more dead dolphins and porpoises have also come ashore in that time frame. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls it a continuation of the unusual mortality event - dating back to 2016.
As of Monday morning, more than 360,000 people have signed a petition posted by Clean Ocean Action that demands an independent investigation into the whale deaths. Local political leaders are also weighing in on the weekend deaths.
State Sen. Vin Gopal said he voted against the offshore wind bailout bill last month because he did have and continues to have major concerns as far as costs to taxpayers and long-term costs to ratepayers.
“There are no wind turbines in Monmouth County, and none are in the process of being built. For that reason, the politicians who are linking offshore wind to this recent whale death are doing it simply for the purpose of spreading misinformation and pushing a political agenda since it’s scientifically impossible,” Gopal said. “The death of this whale in Monmouth County is awful and I have asked all of our state and federal agencies to look into this and to get to the bottom of how it died, especially since news reports say that a ship collided with the mammal."
Monmouth County assemblywoman Vicki Flynn said, "A beautiful Saturday at the Jersey Shore was interrupted by news of a whale washing up in Long Branch. This is not the type of memory people should have from a visit to the Jersey Shore.”
“New Jersey residents are not naive - they are not buying the denials that the sudden uptick of deaths of whales and dolphins off of our Jersey Shore are unrelated to offshore activities for wind projects,” Fynn said.
He says, “I support the development of clean energy to diversify our state’s energy sources. But we need to make sure we are able to provide undisputed evidence that these wind projects are not causing irreparable harm to our environment, this State’s tourism and fishing industries.”
Necropsies on both animals will help try and determine the cause of death.