Ship Collision Apparent Cause of Death for Rare Whale Off New Jersey Coast

The body of the North Atlantic right whale, of which there are only 400 left in the world, was found floating off the coast of Long Branch last week

Whale's tail above water
Bill Greene/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Preliminary observations of a dead rare whale off the coast of New Jersey are consistent with a collision with a ship, federal authorities said.

The whale was a North Atlantic right whale and its carcass was found off Monmouth Beach, N.J. on June 26. The whales number only about 400 and they are vulnerable to collisions with ships and fatal entanglements in fishing gear.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the whale has been identified as a male calf. The whale was the first of ten reported calves from the 2019-20 season, NOAA said.

Philip Hamilton, a research scientist with the New England Aquarium in Boston and manager of the North Atlantic Right Whale Catalog, said the death of the animal is “distressing and yet another setback for an endangered species we are working tirelessly to protect.” The whales have suffered from poor reproduction and high mortality in recent years.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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