Officials worried over latest whale death in New Jersey

Photo of dead whale that washed ashore in Brigantine. Photo by MMSC
Photo of dead whale that washed ashore in Brigantine. Photo by MMSC

TOMS RIVER, NJ – Something is killing off humpback whales at the Jersey Shore, and while New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy insists there’s no there, there, 10th District legislators disagree.

Murphy has chalked up the recent spate of whale deaths at the Jersey Shore as nothing more than part of a normal trend that has been affecting populations for 16 years.

But after a ninth whale washed ashore, Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano (all R-10) have joined the growing call for Governor Murphy to put a moratorium on all offshore wind projects until the cause of the whales’ deaths can be determined.

While some environmentalists are asking whether or not the sonar technology used to survey the ocean floor is interfering with the whales’ natural sonar abilities and causing them to become confused, others are saying it’s just a conspiracy theory.

Other environmentalist groups are saying the whale deaths can’t be related to the massive off-shore wind farm at the Jersey Shore, but so far, neither side in the debate has provided any scientific evidence or studies to prove their point.

That is what the shore legislators are asking for.

“Nine dead whales washing ashore in just over two months is more than a coincidence,” Senator Holzapfel stated. “Something in our waters is causing whales to die at an alarming rate. Until we can definitively say that the work related to these projects aren’t causing whales to die the governor should put a halt to all offshore wind projects.”

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Since December, nine dead whales have washed up along the New York New Jersey coastline with the most recent occurring on February 13th in Manasquan.

“A moratorium must be placed on the offshore wind projects until we have a better understanding of why dead whales are washing up on our beaches,” added Assemblyman McGuckin. “The use of sonar mapping and other the work being done to produce these windfarms are the only factors that we’ve seen change in our waters. I find it difficult to believe that they aren’t having some kind of impact on marine wildlife.”

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” Assemblyman Catalano said. “The Murphy administration continues to deny and deflect while taking no action to address why we’re seeing a new dead whale almost every week wash up on shore. It is disheartening that the Murphy administration cares more about protecting windfarms than protecting whales and other wildlife.”