Whale Deaths in New Jersey Prompt Questions Over Offshore Wind Farms

An environmental activism group in New Jersey has called for an investigation into “offshore wind pre-construction activity” after six whales washed up dead in the New Jersey-New York region in 33 days over December and January.

Clean Ocean Action, a nonprofit based in Long Branch, New Jersey, urged swift action by federal authorities after a sixth whale, seen in this footage, washed up in Atlantic City on Saturday, January 7.

In a January 9 press release, Clean Ocean Action said the number of deaths was “unprecedented” and sent a letter to President Joe Biden to demand a “hard stop” to any offshore development and “an immediate and fully transparent investigation into the recent whale deaths by federal agencies mandated by law to protect marine mammals, especially endangered species.”

Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action, said in the press release: “The wave of dead whales is the ocean sounding the alarm and we must heed the warning. These tragic multiple deaths of mostly young, endangered whales are of no apparent cause," Zipf said. “However, the only new activity in the ocean is the unprecedented concurrent industrial activity by over 11 companies in the region’s ocean, which allows the harassment and harm of tens of thousands of marine mammals,” she alleged.

However, according to NJ.com, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said none of the 174 humpback whale deaths it had examined since 2016 had been “attributed to offshore wind activities,” though necropsies were only performed on about half of those whales.

The whale that washed up in Atlantic City on Saturday was a 30-foot female humpback, according to city officials. Credit: @ReallyAndrea via Storyful

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