By Katie McFadden
Yet another dead whale has washed up on our shores. On Friday, February 17, a minke whale that appeared to have met its fate with a large boat propeller, washed up in Far Rockaway.
On Friday morning, the whale was discovered around Beach 29th Street and authorities were called. The Atlantic Marine Conservation Society responded within a few hours and quickly performed a necropsy to determine how this latest whale died. They found it was a 25-foot adult female minke whale. “The animal had several broken bones and cut wounds across its body, all of which were sampled, that appear to have occurred prior to death. There was additional evidence of blunt force trauma. Samples will be sent out for further analysis, but preliminary evidence indicates the whale died from a vessel strike,” AMSEAS posted to social media. They worked in conjunction with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, NOAA Fisheries New England/Mid-Atlantic, and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to plan for a necropsy examination and disposal of the carcass. The whale was buried on site after the necropsy was complete.
According to AMSEAS, “This is the fifth large whale to strand in New York since December 1 and the 23rd large whale to strand on the east coast since December 1. Further, this is the 12th whale in the NY/NJ area since December 1.”
They continued saying, “There is an ongoing investigation into an increase in minke whale deaths along the Atlantic coast since 2017. All dolphins, porpoises, and whales are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which makes touching, feeding, or otherwise harming these animals illegal. The best way to assist these animals, and keep them and yourself safe, is by calling trained responders and maintaining a 150-foot distance. Please report all stranded marine mammals and sea turtles in New York to the NYS Stranding Hotline: 631-369-9829. Please report all stranded marine mammals and sea turtles outside of New York to NOAA’s marine mammal and sea turtle stranding hotline (866-755-6622) to be directed to a trained responder.”
With so many whale deaths between New York and New Jersey, and after another whale had washed up dead in Manasquan, New Jersey last week, activists called for a Save the Whales rally at Point Pleasant on Sunday, February 17. Hundreds showed up demanding answers for the recent whale deaths.
The Rockaway Times reached out to AMSEAS for any updates on the result of the necropsy for the sperm whale that washed up in Rockaway on December 13 but did not receive a response by press time.
Photo by AMSEAS.