Posted by D. Posnett MD On Apr 5, 2023, at noon, CCE (Citizens Campaign for the Environment) put together a great webinar to address increases in whale strandings and whale deaths off the Atlantic sea shore and in particular the New York blight.
Adrienne Esposito led the discussion. She reminds us that whales are under threat from several sources, including ship strikes, fishing gear, plastic pollution, and climate change. Unfortunately, misinformation has targeted offshore wind development. Local wind projects are crucial to combat climate change, which in itself threatens whales, other marine mammals, fisheries, and our local communities.
Check out this virtual educational forum to hear from experts at the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, and Atlantic Marine Conservation Society. Learn more about the recent whale strandings and deaths, and what is being done to protect whales. Hosted by CCE, NY League of Conservation Voters, and the NY Offshore Wind Alliance.
For a complete review of the webinar, watch it on YouTube (1 hour):
Here are some points that struck me:
- There is a real increase in whale deaths since 2016 (about 4-5 fold over baseline). It is over a large area of the Atlantic coastline. It involves all whale species. Leading causes are vessel strikes and entanglement in fishing gear.
- With the return of menhaden fish schools (food for whales), whale sightings have also increased.
- The nascent offshore wind farms have nothing to do with this real and important problem
The following are a few highlights from the webinar. Courtesy of the speakers:
Julie Tighe (New York League of Conservation voters). Meghan Rickard, NY State Dep of Environmental Conservation. Erika Staaterman, BOEM. Robert A. DiGiovanni, Atlantic Marine Conservation Society. Adrienne Esposito, Citizens campaign
- Large whale (with white fins) feeding on Menhaden school.
- Increased whale strandings near NY Bight
- Location of whale strandings
- Entangled Humpback Whale
- Feeding on Menhaden