Our friends at Gotham Whale had a big group out with American Princess Cruises on Wednesday. Also aboard was Dr. Artie Kopelman, President of the Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island. Unfortunately, one of the humpback whales they ran into was entangled.
This is NYC0071 a sub-adult humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) that was first seen in the waters of the western NY Bight in November 2017 entangled in gill net gear. At that time, a disentanglement team from the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies attempted twice to disentangle the whale, but was only partly successful. The whale showed up again in the waters off NYC last week, still entangled and alive!! Colleagues who saw it then throught that it was thin, but otherwise OK. 5 days of apparent feeding on NY bunker (Atlantic Menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus)) has fattened this whale.
Entanglements and ship-strikes are significant sources of injuries and deaths for humpbacks. Since last 2016, 76 humpbacks have been found dead along the Atlantic coast from Maine to the Carolina’s, so many that NOAA Fisheries had declared an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) for humpbacks. Of the whales that have undergone necropsies (post-mortem exams), ~50% show signs of anthropogenic causes.
Right now in the Western North Atlantic, we have 3 separate decade UME’s – one for North Atlantic Right whales, one for NW Atlantic humpbacks, and one for NW Atlantic mink whales ( Balaenoptera acutorostrata). We’ve got to do better.
Additional photos from Celia Ackerman
Gotham Whale and American Princess Cruises are now running Whale Watches Wednesday Through Sunday out of Breezy Point. Click here for the full schedule and details.
Dr. Artie Kopelman starts his Whale Watches out of Montauk with the Viking Fleet this Sunday July 1st and will be running boats on Wednesdays as well. Click here for schedule and details.