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Reports of Sperm Whale 90 nm off New York

Jennifer  Goebel (NOAA)
(978) 281-9175
(978) 290-0203 (Cell)
June 17, 2018

On June 16, NOAA FIsheries received a report from a New York state aerial survey team of a possible entangled sperm whale located 90 nautical miles offshore with a large plastic tote nearby.  The team circled and photographed for ~20 minutes before returning to the transect line and sending message to shore via satellite phone.

On June 17,  we were able to review the numerous photos, which were clear and of good quality. We were unable to find any direct evidence of entanglement. The tail and body are definitely clear, and the mouth appears clear, as well. There is a fish tote floating next to the animal, but the tote doesn’t move with the whale and doesn’t appear to be connected with the flippers. We believe that the survey team witnessed a whale  inquisitively investigating object floating in the water. We are working on getting another team in the air to verify this initial analysis, and will keep the public posted.

We thank everyone for their concern, and for our stranding network and disentanglement team partners for being ready to spring into action.

Photo: Kate Lomac MacNair, Tetra Tech NYSDEC Survey