Atlantic Marine Conservation Society received a report from the U.S. Coast Guard Montauk Station this morning around 8:30 a.m. of a deceased humpback whale in Napeague, East Hampton.
A team from AMCS spent the afternoon Thursday working on a logistical plan for responding to the whale’s death. Because the whale is in the surf, initial measurements were not taken, but researchers estimated the whale was 30 to 35 feet in length.
The AMCS team plans to return tomorrow morning around 9 a.m. to conduct a necropsy investigation to collect data and help determine a cause of death.
Because the animal is in the surf it is dangerous for the public to get closer, and AMCS strongly urge people to keep a minimum distance of 150 feet at all times.
This is the 6th humpback whale AMCS has responded to this year, which includes one in Sandy Hook, New Jersey in May.
There is an ongoing Unusual Mortality Event (UME) in effect along the Atlantic Coast that has impacted more than 75 humpback whales since 2016. Learn more about the UME on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries website here: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/insight/frequent-questions-2016-2018-humpback-whale-atlantic-coast-unusual-mortality-event
According to NOAA Fisheries, “we have not been able to retrieve many of the stranded carcasses because they were in states of advanced decomposition or were floating, but we have conducted partial or full necropsy examinations on approximately half of the 42 cases that occurred through April 2017.”
“Of the 20 cases examined through April, 10 cases had evidence of blunt force trauma or pre-mortem propeller wounds indicative of vessel strike, which is over six times more than the 16-year average of 1.5 whales showing signs of vessel strike in this region,” they added.