Robert DiGiovanni

Fox 5: Mystery of Dying Whales Concerns Scientists

Fox 5 NY's Jodi Goldberg met Atlantic Marine Conservation Society chief scientist Rob DiGiovanni at Jones Beach to talk about the recent whale deaths in New York and what he and his fellow scientists are working to uncover.

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Scientists are searching for answers about why humpback whales are dying at an unprecedented rate along the Atlantic Coast.

"Having six animals come up in six months is something that we haven't seen in years," said Rob DiGiovanni, the founder of the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society. "Between May and June, we had four animals come up in a 30-day period." 

Watch the interview and find the story here.

AMCS Performs Necropsy on Stranded Humpback Whale in Far Rockaway

On Tuesday, June 12, 2018, Atlantic Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) received a report of a whale swimming in Reynolds Channel in Far Rockaway. This event recalled memories of a humpback whale that had spent nearly a week swimming in that same area in November 2017, which was believed to have made its way out of the channel on its own. AMCS stayed in contact with their colleagues at the US Coast Guard and the next day, the whale was not seen in the channel. On Thursday, June 14 however, AMCS received a report of a deceased humpback whale on a sandbar near Atlantic Beach Bridge.

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Because of the whale’s location, many resources needed to come together in order to respond. Working with the Town of Hempstead, Bay Constable, and US Coast Guard, teams were able to secure the whale and tow it to Alder Island. Once the whale was moved, the team was able to conduct the necropsy examination, which took place on Friday, June 15.

The whale was male, 30 feet in length, and could have been between 3 to 5 years of age. The examination showed the whale had not been actively eating and may have been compromised. It was also fairly decomposed. Samples were taken and sent to a pathologist to help determine a cause of death. Those results may take several months to come back. AMCS had additional support from Mystic Aquarium and Mount Sinai Icahn School volunteers, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries and NYS Department of Conservation. This was the fifth humpback whale to wash up on New York shores this year, and the fourth whale in less than 30 days.

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.

Newsday: NOAA probes 13 North Atlantic right whale deaths

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries division and Canadian authorities are launching an investigation after a number of North Atlantic right whales have died this summer, stressing the already imperiled population.

Thirteen of the critically endangered mammals have died since April — 10 in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence and three at or near Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, said David Gouveia of NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region.

Read the full story online here.

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Long Island Pulse Magazine: Will It Ever Be the Year of the Sea Turtle?

Long Islanders can hop on whale and seal watching cruises and go shark diving in an aluminum cage. Reports of whale, dolphin and shark sightings spark interest—or strike fear—in locals. But sea turtle spotting expeditions are nonexistent on the Island and the reptiles rarely make the news.

“Sea turtles are more difficult to spot,” said Robert A. DiGiovanni, founder and chief scientist of the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society. “The occurrence and encounter rate is low, partly based on their behavior and partly because they may spend less time on the surface when near shore in the bays and estuaries.”

Read the full story online here.

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Long Island Pulse Magazine: A Whale Of An Island

Long Island’s history with whales likely dates back to the 1600s when, according to sparse artifacts such as engravings, Native Americans hunted whales that swam close to shore. Long Islanders went on to pioneer whaling in the Northeast, opening ports in Sag Harbor, Greenport and Cold Spring Harbor. The whale was like a buffalo. It had multiple purposes—food, oil, tool-making.

Though the International Whaling Commission banned almost all whaling in 1986, our shores had appeared void of the sea mammals for about half a century. But last July, two humpbacks were repeatedly spotted in the Long Island Sound, prompting media and beachgoers to wonder if whales were navigating local waters more often. Robert A. DiGiovanni, the founder and chief scientist of Atlantic Marine Conservation Society would get word of a few sightings per year. Since 2014, it has gotten a few per week, mostly in New York Harbor, the Long Island Sound and the South Shore of Long Island.

Read the full story online here.

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