A prolific nature photographer captured images of a humpback whale enjoying breakfast today off the Jersey Shore.
Jerry Meaney, the publisher of the popular Barnegat Bay Island, NJ Facebook page, was snapping photos near the Manasquan Inlet in Point Pleasant Beach when he saw a whale feeding.
“The schools of fish have been in close and even in the inlet over the last few days. The whales follow them,” said Meaney, a Point Pleasant Beach first aider who can be spotted near the inlet almost every morning.
Whales are currently migrating north from the Caribbean for the warmer months, according to Gotham Whale, a New York City-based organization that studies and advocates for marine mammals along with educating the public. Citizen scientists help inform the organization’s activities.
While some of the whales currently off the Jersey Shore will “hang out in our area,” a Gotham Whale spokesperson said, others will migrate to the waters off Maine and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to feed during the spring and summer months.
“It’s the growing population in our area that we are researching and cataloging,” the spokesperson tweeted.
Humpback whales mate during the winter months, when they survive off fat stores, or blubber, that is built-up during the spring and summer months, according to a NOAA guide on the species.
Federal law requires vessels keep a distance of 100 yards from humpback whales.