A dead minke whale washed up in Rye, NH, on Monday, 17 September 2018. Photo: Jennifer Goebel / The Boston Globe

By Andres Picon
17 September 2018

(The Boston Globe) – At least four whales, including one that washed up in New Hampshire on Monday, have been reported dead around the Northeast since 9 September 2018, adding to the unusual mortality event that researchers say is affecting several whale species.

“We’re definitely seeing more whale mortalities than we have in the past and it’s definitely concerning,” Jennifer Goebel, a spokeswoman for NOAA Fisheries, said.

A juvenile humpback whale was found washed up in Cohasset on 9 September 2018. Officials from NOAA, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Coast Guard decided to have it towed off shore on Friday, Goebel said.

A “very significant” percentage of the whales that have died in the ongoing unusual mortality event are juveniles, Tony LaCasse, spokesman for the New England Aquarium, said. […]

The cause of the whales’ deaths is still unknown, and it could take weeks to find out what killed them. The minke whale that washed up in Rye may have been entangled in some gear, but researchers will not know whether that killed whale until they complete the evaluation, Goebel said.

The whale deaths, which occurred within days of each other, come in the midst of three ongoing unusual mortality events affecting minke whales, humpback whales, and North Atlantic right whales, which are all prevalent around the waters of the Northeast, Goebel said. These unusual mortality events have been affecting local whale populations for at least a year, and it’s worrying researchers.

There has been approximately one report of a dead whale off the coast of Massachusetts every week since early August, which is a greater rate of reports than usual, LaCasse said. [more]

There’s been a ‘concerning’ spike in whale deaths this month

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