One Whale of a Problem in Sea Isle, Avalon
By MADDY VITALE/SomersPoint.com
A dead and decaying 30-foot, two-ton humpback whale stuck in the mud between Sea Isle City and Avalon in Townsends Inlet isn’t moving anywhere anytime soon, but eventually the removal of the carcass will be someone or some city’s rather large problem.
A tracking device placed on the carcass was removed since the whale is not able to be pulled from the sediment.
“The tracker is not necessary because the animal stopped floating. It is on a sandbar. It is two-plus tons of dead weight,” explained Bob Schoelkopf, director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine. “The only way it will likely move is with a full moon, which won’t happen again until the end of the month.”
He emphasized that if a storm blows through, the carcass will drift closer to the beach area rather than out to sea as it “lightens its load with decay.”
Shark bites are proof that an apex predator has been feeding on it. However, no one has called the Marine Mammal Stranding Center to say they have witnessed that, Schoelkopf said.
Each year, about 12 dead whales either wash ashore or are discovered in the region’s waters.
Marine experts are investigating a disease that might be affecting whales. In September, a humpback whale was found dead in the water near Brigantine after becoming entangled in fishing gear.
Humpback whales are in the area’s waters year-round.
To donate to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center visit www.mmsc.org.