Necropsy of Whale at Seaside Park, NJ, Beach Shows ‘Fractured skull’
SEASIDE PARK — A dead 30-foot humpback whale that turned up at an Ocean County beach on Wednesday showed signs of being struck by a vessel, according to the results of a necropsy.
The Marine Mammal Stranding Center said a necropsy on the female whale found near L Street was completed on Friday. There were signs of decomposition but overall the body was in good condition.
Investigators found several injuries both on the inside and outside of the animal. The wounds included a fractured skull, bruising on the head, and cuts on the whale's right side likely caused by a propeller strike, according to the MMSC.
Team members found scars, likely from previous entanglements. Samples have been collected to determine if the injuries were sustained before or after the whale's death but results may not be available for several weeks.
"We are thankful for the tireless efforts of our stranding network and local partners, and their dedication towards these animals," the MMSC said in a statement on social media.
The whale carcass has been buried at the beach where it can decompose naturally.
READ MORE: Whale spotted floating off Seaside Park, NJ beach
At least 13 whales have washed up along the New Jersey or New York coastline since December. It's still unknown if the whale that washed up at Seaside Park on Wednesday is the same animal that was spotted floating near the Ambrose Channel on Monday.
Seaside Park Mayor John Peterson said he was saddened and emotional about the deaths when speaking to New Jersey 101.5's Bill Spadea on Wednesday morning. The mayor is part of a growing list of local officials calling for an immediate moratorium on preparation work for offshore wind projects.
"We now see what many are pointing to as the direct result of the preconstruction survey activity, sonar activity," Peterson said. "There's no coincidence."
But at least three federal agencies have rejected any link between the whale deaths and offshore wind industry activities. Gov. Murphy has so far refused to impose a moratorium. He said last month there was "no link."