SEA BRIGHT, NJ – On Monday, the Marine Mammal Stranding Service notified the NOAA about a large and majestic North Atlantic right whale that was spotted entangled in fishing nets 2.7 nautical miles off the coast of Sea Bright, New Jersey. The whale was spotted by naturalists and whale watchers onboard the New York-based American Princess, according to NOAA. The agency is asking boaters to report sightings of the whale.
#NewJersey mariners/boaters: Please report any sightings of an entangled right whale to:
• VHF Ch 16
It was last seen on 10/11 about 2.7 nm east of Sea Bright. Details: https://t.co/sOLUGf4x4K. Photo: Artie Raslich/@gothamwhale pic.twitter.com/bnnQHSHeLE
— NOAAFish_NEFSC (@NOAAFish_NEFSC) October 15, 2020
“While reviewing their photos after the end of the trip, naturalists from Gotham Whale observed entangling lines on the whale,” the NOAA said. “They have shared their photos, and the New England Aquarium is working on identifying the whale. At this point, the Center for Coastal Studies believes this may be a new (previously unreported) case.”
From the photos, biologists believe that the whale is in extremely poor condition, with large lesions on its body. The whale has two visible lines partially embedded around its head and likely has a more complex entanglement that needs additional documentation.
“Working with the Center for Coastal Studies and Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, we are looking for a good weather window to document the whale’s location, full entanglement configuration, and injuries from the air, and hope to get a team in the air soon. After that, we will determine what actions we may be able to take for this whale,” the NOAA said.
Weather conditions were not good enough on Wednesday to inspect, the NOAA said.
“We are still looking for a good weather window to get a team into the air to try and locate the whale and further document its entanglement and injuries, but the current marine forecast makes this unlikely for a few more days,” the agency added.