A dead whale was discovered on an Ocean County beach Wednesday morning.
Local resident Andrew Pero captured the images below of the whale along the shoreline in the Chadwick Beach section of Toms River.
Dead whale ashore in Chadwick Beach by JSHN contributor Andrew P. pic.twitter.com/Y3NsAJ669J
— JSHN (@JSHurricaneNews) April 26, 2017
Sheila Dean of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, which responds to reports of beached marine mammals, said that the center’s technicans were at the site early Wednesday afternoon.
The center said the whale, difficult to identify because of its decomposition, could be an endangered “sei,” adding that it was likely struck by a ship.
Onlookers said crews were cutting the whale into pieces for removal from the beach.
The discovery comes just days after a decomposing juvenile humpback whale was discovered in Delaware, where four humpbacks have stranded in less than a year, delawareonline.com reported. Four have also stranded off Virginia, and one stranded off Long Island last fall, the report said.
The activity has prompted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Fisheries to declare an “unusual mortality event,” and the agency is expected to release details soon, according to the report.
The last time such an event was declared in the region was when bottlenose dolphins where dying along the mid-Atlantic beginning in 2013. Numerous were diagnosed with morbillivirus, a measles-like virus.
Today’s discovery is just the latest in dead whales discovered along New Jersey beaches or just offshore.
A humpback whale was discovered on a Sea Isle City in September 2016. Then in January 2017, a rare Blainesville’s beaked whale washed ashore in Island Beach State Park. Just a few weeks later, a humpback whale was found on a newly formed sandbar off Long Beach Island.
The combination of ubiquitous smartphones and social media amplification has resulted in numerous photographs and videos of whales in recent years.
Exactly a year ago on April 26, photographer and blogger Jerry Meaney snapped photos of a whale feeding near the Manasquan Inlet, which separates Ocean and Monmouth counties.
At the time, Gotham Whale, a New York City-based organization that studies and advocates for marine mammals along with educating the public, said whales were migrating north from the Caribbean for the warmer months.
“It’s a growing population in our area that we are researching and cataloging,” a spokesperson said.
Federal law requires vessels keep a distance of 100 yards from whales.
10-26-16 I’ve been waiting for this shot. #humpbackwhale off #seasidepark #seasideparknj #rainfish schools, look for those #noseholes #jshn #dji #dunegrassplanting is coming, (yes the water really is that color)