21 August 2015

Mysterious deaths of Gulf of Alaska whales trigger stepped-up investigation

Yereth Rosen, Alaska Dispatch News

Bears feeding on the carcass of a fin whale in Larson Bay, near Kodiak, on June 13, 2015. NOAA photo

A mysterious die-off of large whales in the Gulf of Alaska is now classified as an “unusual mortality event,” elevating the official response, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday.

The deaths were first discovered in late May, when carcasses of endangered fin whales were found floating near Kodiak. Since then, the toll has increased, and now totals 30 whales -- 11 fin whales, 14 humpbacks, one gray whale and four unidentified cetaceans, NOAA said Thursday.

Go here for the whole article.


Vicki said...

Have been reading about other cases of unusual marine life deaths along the Pacific coastline in the lower 48. Fukushima, perhaps?

Rev. Paul said...

Vicki, marine biologists are hesitantly suggesting it might be a combination of el Niño, the "blob" (large mass of warm water in mid-eastern Pacific), and Fukushima.

threecollie said...

Terrible to see such a thing. That photo with the bears give an idea of just how big whales really are too. Wow!

Rev. Paul said...

threecollie, it's always sad when something unexplained causes innocent critters to die in large numbers. Btw, fin whales grow to about 75 - 78 feet, weighing some 70 tons.