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September 01, 2020 10:27am
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First dead whale of the season washes up on Jersey Shore

A dead humpback whale washed ashore Thursday morning in Long Beach Township, New Jersey, in the first such incident this year, according to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center.

A dead humpback whale that washed ashore on New Jersey's Long Beach Island on Thursday was the first such death in the state this year, according to a marine mammal rescue group.

The Marine Mammal Stranding Center said it received a call at 6:45 a.m. reporting a dead humpback whale in the surf in Long Beach Township. It said the animal was 20 to 30 feet long, but did not release further information, including whether there were any outward signs of injury or illness.

The center's web site said the state's first whale death of the year follows 14 whale deaths in New Jersey during 2023.


The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration did not respond to a request for information on the whale death and similar fatalities in recent months along the U.S. East Coast.

It drew renewed outcries from opponents of offshore wind, who believe that site preparation work for oceanic wind farms is harming or even killing whales — a claim that numerous scientific agencies say is not true.

The group Protect Our Coast NJ said it is "gravely alarmed" by the whale deaths, and continued to voice skepticism of official scientific pronouncements.

"We don’t know whether the offshore wind companies blasting the waters with sonar sparkers and seismic devices could be impairing the communication patterns of these marine mammals," said Robin Shaffer, president of the group. "But we’re skeptical about the statements that are all too often put out by scientists in the immediate aftermath of these deaths that they were caused by ship strikes or entanglements with fishing gear."

Shaffer added: "Isn’t it at least possible that there is some other factor causing disorientation, and that the ship strikes and entanglements are a secondary factor?"

Agencies including the U.S Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Marine Mammal Commission, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection all say there is no evidence linking whale deaths to offshore wind preparation.

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