Whale Found in Shinnecock Bay Died of Blunt Force Trauma
A 47-foot dead humpback whale that floated through the Shinnecock Inlet last Thursday was one of two that were found fatally struck by ships in New York and New Jersey last week, officials said.
Southampton Town Police marine units, Atlantic Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) marine biologists and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials responded to a report of a dead whale that floated into Shinnecock Bay shortly before 4 p.m. June 1, authorities said.
‘The whale was towed back to the ocean and secured to the beach near Hampton Bays, where experts with AMCS performed a necropsy before Suffolk County crews used heavy machinery to bury the carcass in the sand, officials said.
“While this carcass was heavily decomposed, scientists observed bruising in the blubber [and] muscle on both sides of the head,” NOAA stated, noting that the cause of death was blunt force trauma.
The whale was first spotted May 31 five miles off the coast of Wainscott, the same day that another dead whale was found in Raritan Bay between New Jersey and Staten Island. The Hamptons whale was found in the bay the following day and both whales were buried on Friday, June 2.
“While these whales were seen on the same day, their different levels of decomposition indicates that these strandings were not related,” NOAA stated. The New Jersey whale was also found to have died of blunt force trauma, lacerations and severed fin “consistent with a ship strike,” the agency added.
The two humpback deaths are part of a spate of whale fatalities in the region. More than 30 dead whales have washed ashore along the East Coast so far this year, many of them in New Jersey and New York.
NOAA officials held a briefing in January to try to address claims by opponents of wind farms that the whale deaths might be linked to the offshore wind industry. The officials said there was no evidence implicating wind farm development in the deaths of any of the whales that had been examined by scientists.
-With Associated Press