Dead Whale Washes Up in Montauk

A severely decomposed whale washed up on the beach in Montauk Tuesday morning. Courtesy AMSEAS

A severely decomposed whale washed up on the shore at Kirk Park Beach in Montauk Tuesday morning.

The whale, approximately 20 feet long, is either a fin whale or a sei whale, according to Robert A. DiGiovanni Jr., the chief scientist at the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, which responded to the stranding. The whale is so decomposed that his response team was not sure.

Even still, biologists will conduct a necropsy of the whale on the beach. They are working with East Hampton Town officials and its Marine Patrol unit and it will be carted away to a disposal facility after the necropsy is performed.

DiGiovanni said there is not a lot to be gleaned from such a decomposed whale, but it is still worth taking samples.

This is the fourth large dead whale to wash up east of Westhampton since May.  A humpback whale carcass was seen floating off Montauk in July. In late May, a humpback whale washed up in Amagansett. Earlier that month a moderately decomposed 32-foot humpback whale floated ashore at Cupsogue Beach County Park in Westhampton Beach. An unusual mortality event has been in effect for humpback whales along the Atlantic coast since 2016.

Whales have been a common sight from East End shores in recent years.

Fin and sei whales are not as common. Fin whales are the second-largest species. Sei whales, the third-largest rorqual after the blue whale and the fin whale, prefer deep offshore waters.

The public is encouraged to report sightings of any marine animals that are in distress, stranded, or floating dead, to the New York State Stranding Hotline at 631-369-9829.

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