Friday, October 7, 2016

Whale Beached in NJ Died Due to Human Interaction

Beached whale in NJ - Photo via nj.com

A humpback whale that washed ashore in Sea Isle City, New Jersey in early September died because of human interaction, officials say. The beached young whale was 33 feet long and weighed some 20 tons.

Officials with the Marine Mammal Stranding Center said it may have been caught in a fishing line which caused injuries that left it unable to feed. A necropsy revealed that the whale was emaciated.

Only a few weeks before the whale was found, the news on humpback whales was that many populations were being removed from the endangered species list.

But whales still are endangered - listed or not - by human interactions, especially entanglement in fishing gear, weaponized sonar use, and ship collisions. Conservationists will continue to work to minimize these interactions.
Breaching humpback whale

The www.csmonitor.com wrote about the NJ stranding and reminds us that humans have hunted whales for some 5,000 years, but in the second half of the 20th century, whales became a popular species to "save."

"Save the Whales" led to the Marine Animal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act and commercial whaling moratoriums emerged.

What about currently? This year, NOAA Marine Fisheries Service designated an additional 39,414 square miles of ocean as critical habitat for the endangered right whale. Last year, the US Navy agreed to reduce its use of mid-frequency sonar along the coasts of California and Hawaii.

As far as I'm concerned, taking a species off the "endangered" list moves it to the "threatened" list. Pay attention, people.

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