Latest Dead Humpback Whale Found Floating Near Mouth of Bay

Humpback whales continue to wash up dead along the mid-Atlantic coast, and the youngest whale is particularly true near home — at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

The Virginia Aquarium says it received a report Tuesday of a dead humpback whale swimming in Virginia Beach waters near Lynnhaven Beach. A boater shared a photo on Facebook of a large marine mammal swimming at the surface and warned other boaters to be on their guard when entering Lynnhaven Inlet.

The Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team coordinated with the Virginia Beach Police Marine Patrol to track the exact whereabouts of the whale. Now, the Stranding Response Team is working with the Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers to bring the whale ashore Wednesday in the First Landing State Park area.

Once on land, biologists examine the whale carcass and perform an autopsy. Authorities are asking everyone to stay away from the whale and associated equipment. It is illegal to touch a whale protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Tensions are mounting between state regulators of the offshore wind industry and those who blame the wave of whale deaths on wind farm development. The highest concentration of fatalities was in New Jersey, where seabed surveys were being conducted for upcoming projects. In December and January alone, seven whales were found dead there. A total of 10 whale deaths have recently been recorded in New York and New Jersey, including one on Long Island on January 30.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says none of those deaths were attributed to offshore wind activity. They recognize that whales are “annoyed” by noise pollution in offshore wind projects. And the risk of ship collisions increases due to the additional shipping traffic that comes with the development of wind farms.

NOAA claims there are no documented cases of whale death associated with offshore wind projects and no evidence of whales being injured because developers conducted seabed soundings to identify cable corridors.

A dead whale washed up on the beach at Assateague Island National Seashore three weeks ago. The news prompted Maryland Congressman Andy Harris (R-1) to call for an “immediate moratorium” on all offshore wind activity and geotechnical testing until it can be demonstrated that the activity is definitely not causing those deaths.

You can report any sightings of stranded marine mammals or sea turtles to the Stranding Response Hotline at (757) 385-7575. Please note the exact location.

– Meg Walburn Viviano


Read  Winter is coming. Here’s how to prepare your car for a winter in the High Country

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button