By Mike Busch 5-5-19
The 2019 whale watching season did not start the way I wanted when I heard about a dead Humpback Whale washed up at Cupsogue County Beach just east of Moriches Inlet this afternoon. The Atlantic Marine Conservation Society is responding and working with Suffolk county officials to determine a response plan that will probably take place tomorrow. Their initial assessment is that is a 37 foot female Humpback. Adult females can reach 50 feet at full size.
I took a rainy ride out for a few shots and some video around 2:00 p.m. at low tide. Hopefully the whale won’t be pushed out back out to sea at high tide tonight. I didn’t see any obvious signs of trauma. If AMCS determines what happened to the whale we will provide an update.
Since 2016 there has been an uptick in strandings up and down the east coast making this the 94th dead Humpback recorded. NOAA Fisheries has determined that this in an unusual mortality event and has a team of investigators working to determine what is going on. About 50% have been caused by humans, either ship-strike or entanglement in fishing gear.
I have also forwarded my images to Gotham Whale who maintains an extensive catalog of local Humpback Whales to see if it is in their database.
Hopefully the next whale I report is swimming and feeding out on the Ocean.
More Images on Pages 2 and 3