NJ Whodunnit Over Whale Deaths Focuses On Vessel Strike

There have been seven whale deaths in a little over a month in New Jersey and New York, including the two recent found on beaches north of Atlantic City, N.J.
The body of a humpack whale lies on a beach in Brigantine N.J., after it washed ashore on Friday, Jan. 13, 2023. It was the seventh dead whale to wash ashore in New Jersey and New York in little over a month, prompting calls for a temporary halt in offshore wind farm preparation on the ocean floor from lawmakers and environmental groups who suspect the work might have something to do with the deaths. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

At a glance

  • The most recently found whale, a humpback that washed up Thursday in Brigantine showed “blunt trauma injuries consistent with those from a vessel strike,” the Marine Mammal Stranding Center said Sunday.
  • The preliminary results will be confirmed through laboratory analysis in the coming weeks.
  • The 32-foot whale was apparently in good condition before the time of death.
  • “The whale’s stomach was full of partially digested fish and there was fecal matter in the intestines, indicating the whale had been actively feeding prior to these injuries,” the center said.
  • There has been speculation about whether the whale deaths are linked to wind energy development, which has resulted in some lawmakers calling for a temporary pause in preparation work for offshore wind projects in the New Jersey and New York.
  • Most environmental groups in New Jersey say such a connection between the deaths and the offshore project is “unfounded and premature.”

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