On Sunday, May 27, 2018 Atlantic Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) was made aware of a deceased humpback whale on Fire Island in the Point O’ Woods area. This was the third reported humpback whale of the month and the year. In coordination with Fire Island National Seashore, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, and local authorities, AMCS scheduled the necropsy for the following morning.
The necropsy was completed on Monday, May 29, 2018 with support from Fire Island National Seashore, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, Point O’ Woods Association, and Suffolk County Police. The whale washed ashore in a piping plover area, which are a species listed as “Threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. With this in mind, the team was diligent about respecting the area these birds live in as to not cause harm or distress.
The female humpback whale was 33 feet long and could have been between three to five years of age. AMCS biologists found evidence of blunt force trauma consistent with vessel strike. The whale was fairly decomposed and samples were taken and sent to a pathologist to help confirm the cause of death, the results of which may take several months to come back.
As a nonprofit organization, we truly appreciate all of the organizations involved that were instrumental in these efforts. We ask that the public help by reporting strandings to the NYS Stranding Hotline by calling 631.369.9829.