NOAA investigating Alaska whale deaths

Thirty large whales have recently washed ashore on Alaskan coasts, prompting a federal agency to declare an “unusual mortality event” and mount an official investigation into the mystery of what could be killing so many marine mammals.

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) are “very concerned” about how many whales are stranding near and on Alaskan beaches, the agency’s Dr Teri Rowles said in a statement.

“While we do not yet know the cause of these strandings, our investigations will give us important information on the health of whales and the ecosystems where they live,” she said, asking for help from the public to report dead or distressed animals.

Since the beginning of May, 11 fin whales, 14 humpbacks, one gray whale and four unidentified cetaceans have stranded on islands of the western gulf of Alaska and along the peninsula’s southern shore. Most died in the Kodiak archipelago.

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About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 13 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

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