Breaking News Bar
updated: 5/23/2014 5:36 PM

More whales being hit by ships along East Coast

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Associated Press/July 11, 2008A trio of humpback whales break the surface of the water as they work together in a group behavior known as "bubble feeding" off the coast of Cape Cod near Provincetown, Mass.

      Associated Press/July 11, 2008A trio of humpback whales break the surface of the water as they work together in a group behavior known as "bubble feeding" off the coast of Cape Cod near Provincetown, Mass.

 
Associated Press

A cruise ship heading for New York this month struck and killed a whale and dragged it into the Hudson River, part of a higher-than-usual rate of strikes along the Eastern Seaboard for this time of year, a federal agency said.

There were three recent whale strikes recently, including one in which a cruise ship hit a sei (pronounced SAY) whale and did not discover it until it reached port, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

In a similar case, a sei whale was found dead and attached to a container ship that was docking near Philadelphia, NOAA said.

The whales may be following food sources closer to shore, NOAA said. An increased food supply has recently been cited for a large increase in the number of humpback whales off Massachusetts.

The agency issued a reminder to mariners of measures already in place to protect whales, including speed limits and distances.

"Nobody wants to hit a whale," said Marjorie Mooney-Seus, a spokeswoman. "So we want people to have a greater awareness that they're out there now."

The usual rate of whale strikes by ships is about one every few weeks, she said, compared with the three in the past few weeks.

NOAA said it counted 28 whale strikes in Northeastern waters between 2006 and 2010. Worldwide, a National Marine Fisheries Service survey covering 1975 through 2002 found 292 records of confirmed or possible ship strikes to large whales.

Rob DiGiovanni, who heads a marine mammal rescue group on Long Island, said he's seeing "more evidence of ship strikes and that's definitely a concern." In the past, his Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation would go a couple of years without seeing a large whale that had been hit by a ship.

"Now we get a couple a year," he said.

The New York cruise ship incident was discovered May 4, the Philadelphia case on May 7, Mooney-Seus said. She did not have details about the third recent strike except that it involved a fin whale; NOAA is investigating.

A necropsy on the New York whale found it was killed by blunt force, confirming that it was killed by the ship, Mooney-Seus said. The other two whales were not retrieved.

NOAA said there have been no recent reported strikes of endangered North Atlantic right whales.

DiGiovanni said his group hopes to study whether the numbers are up because there are more whales, more ships or a change in a food source, as suggested by NOAA.

In the coastal waters off Boston, large numbers of a fish called the sea lance have turned the mouth of Massachusetts Bay into a "whale feeding ground," said Laura Howes of Boston Harbor Cruises.

Twenty to 30 whales are being spotted on every whale watching excursion, 10 times the usual number.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here