Whale Threats - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2077301

Whale Threats

Notwithstanding Larry Penny’s speculation in his February 9 column, titled “Energy Needs and Whales,” that recent occurrences of dead whales washing up on northeastern Atlantic shores are the result of ongoing work to install offshore wind turbines to generate electricity [“Nature, Naturally,” Sports & Outdoors, February 9], the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Office states on its website that U.S. offshore wind development has yet to be linked to any whale deaths.

The NOAA Fisheries site further notes: “Since January 2016, NOAA Fisheries has been monitoring an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) for humpback whales with elevated strandings along the entire East Coast. To date, there are 178 humpback whale mortalities included in the UME. Partial or full necropsy examinations were conducted on approximately half of the whales. Of the whales examined, about 40 percent had evidence of human interaction, either ship strike or entanglement. Vessel strikes and entanglement in fishing gear are the greatest human threats to large whales.”

Mary Faucher

North Sea