Friday, November 25, 2016

Humpback Whales Off NJ and NYC

An example of humpback whales lunge feeding - via Wikimedia

Humpback whales were spotted this month in both the Hudson River off New York City and also in Raritan Bay between Sandy Hook and Perth Amboy.

Both whales were lunge feeding which is when they lunge forward from the water taking in thousands of gallons of water and fish. It appeared that these whales had found a good supply of menhaden, a small forager fish that is known to fishermen as bunker..

These whales have found sufficient food to make a stop here worthwhile.

A humpback was also spotted off Belmar, NJ this month and reportedly damaged a boat that was too near. Those who come across the whale are urged to keep their distance.

Typically, these whales should be getting ready to head south for the winter.

It is a good sign that they are being seen here more frequently as it indicates cleaner water and more abundant fish. But the busy NY/NJ waterways are not really the safest areas for feeding due to waterway traffic.

Most whales are passing the coastline but will enter a bay when they find bait fish, however, we don't want them entering rivers like the Raritan or the Arthur Kill.

The behavior of these whales has been normal, so it doesn't seem that they are in any distress.

Unfortunately, about 80 miles from Manhattan, another humpback whale was stranded for a week in Moriches Bay (off the southern coast of Long Island). After being stuck in a sand bar in four feet of water for two days, it was euthanized by NOAA’s Marine Mammal Stranding Network,

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