Summary of Whale Stranding Data
Over the last 20 years, there have been an average of seven whale strandings per year in New Jersey
Recent whale mortality has been led to growing concern about the local coastal environment. Since January 2016, elevated humpback whale mortalities have occurred along the Atlantic coast from Maine through Florida. As a community that relies on trusted resources for those who visit or invest here, this article will serve as link to the latest updates and findings. Information provided by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and The Marine Mammal Stranding Center. The Marine Mammal Stranding Center is the only Federally-authorized animal hospital in the State of New Jersey that responds to these animals in distress and provides medical treatment. The NOAA is part of an ongoing study into increased reports of humpback whale deaths along the East Coast over the last several years. Since 2016, 174 dead stranded humpbacks have been reported across 13 states. Only about 87 were necropsied, of which 40% were determined to have died due to ship strikes or being entangled, the agency said.
Per the Marine Mammal stranding Center, the three most recent whale stranding in New Jersey were Humpback whales. In 2016, NOAA declared an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) for Humpback whales due to the elevated Humpback whale mortalities have occurred along the Atlantic coast. Scientists study and investigate Unusual Mortality Events to understand the health of marine mammal populations. A portion of the Humpback whales necropsied have shown evidence of pre-mortem vessel strike; however, this finding is not consistent across all whales examined, and more research is needed. As part of the UME investigation process, NOAA assembled an independent team of scientists to coordinate with the Working Group on Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events to review data, sample stranded whales, and determine the next steps for the investigation. To learn more about the information regarding these events, please visit NOAA dedicated UME page.
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