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Sat Dec 29, 2012, 09:22 AM

Beached whale that died in coastal NYC was malnourished

Source: Star Tribune

NEW YORK - Tests show a 60-foot beached whale that died in a costal enclave of New York City was malnourished but wasn't injured or killed by humans.

The whale is part of an endangered species known as finback or fin whales. It was severely emaciated but clinging to life when it was discovered Wednesday stranded at Breezy Point, a Queens community hit hard by Superstorm Sandy.

Volunteer firefighters sprayed water on the whale as it sat halfway out of the Jamaica Bay water. The whale drifted out of sight at high tide and came ashore dead Thursday.

Marine officials said Friday the whale was malnourished and had lesions in its stomach and kidneys. The cause of its death won't be determined until testing comes back on tissue samples.



Read more: http://www.startribune.com/nation/185108141.html?refer=y



This is incredibly sad. Was the whale affected by Corexit? Was it malnourished because of overfishing by trawlers?



Cher

10 replies, 2530 views

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Reply Beached whale that died in coastal NYC was malnourished (Original post)
NJCher Dec 2012 OP
Scuba Dec 2012 #1
CreekDog Dec 2012 #2
BlueCaliDem Dec 2012 #3
cstanleytech Dec 2012 #7
RebelOne Dec 2012 #8
csziggy Dec 2012 #9
PaulaFarrell Dec 2012 #10
Trillo Dec 2012 #4
Cal33 Dec 2012 #5
awoke_in_2003 Dec 2012 #6

Response to NJCher (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 10:31 AM

1. How could it be malnourished when it doubled in size in just the past three days?

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Response to Scuba (Reply #1)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 10:33 AM

2. you're funny except not really

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Response to NJCher (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 12:41 PM

3. This story just broke my heart.

If it was malnourished it can only be caused by overfishing.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 03:57 PM

7. I hate to break it to you but

animals have been starving to death long before mankind even existed and they will do so for a long time after mankind is gone.
Is it possible though that is the this specific whaled was malnourished? Yes, its possible.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 04:46 PM

8. That was my first thought. n/t

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 05:41 PM

9. I wondered if it could be from overfishing

Since many whales eat krill, something that humans seldom fish for, at least in the North Atlantic.

Well, I was wrong - finback whales eat small fish as well as krill:
The diet of the fin whale differs from that of the blue whale in that it does not solely eat krill, they also consume a range of schooling fish, including anchovy and herring. It is estimated that the fin whale can consume 6 tons of food per day. They have 262-473 plates of baleen on each side of their mouth and the fine fraying hairs measure 92cm or 8in in length. These sift through the water for their prey in the same way other rorquals feed. The fin whale will return to the same feeding ground each year which it was brought to in its natal year by its mother.
http://www.whalingtimes.com/Fin%20Whale%20Page.htm


Krill are fished extensively by ships in the Antartic. NOAA passed a ban on krill fishing in some parts of US waters in 2009, but there are probably ships that ignore those bans or fish just outside our territorial waters. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/krill/ and http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2009/07/noaa-says-no-krill and http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100901/full/467015a.html

As of 2003 experimental small-scale harvesting was being carried out in other areas, for example, fishing for Euphausia pacifica off British Columbia and harvesting Meganyctiphanes norvegica, Thysanoessa raschii and Thysanoessa inermis in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. These experimental operations produce only a few hundred tonnes of krill per year. Nicol & Foster consider it unlikely that any large-scale harvesting operations in these areas will be started due to opposition from local fishing industries and conservation groups.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krill#Harvest


There is also the concern that climate change is affecting the krill:
Researchers suspect that Antarctic krill are also feeling the effect of climate change. Krill larvae feed on algae living on the bottom of sea ice, which is rapidly dwindling around the Antarctic Peninsula. According to one estimate, the number of krill in the Southern Ocean may have dropped by 80% since the 1970s. But "there is no definite answer as to how the krill responds to warming", says Nicol. It is also unclear whether krill stocks are transient or fixed to given areas, and how many live deeper than 200 metres, below the most heavily fished and studied region of the ocean.
http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2009/07/noaa-says-no-krill and http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100901/full/467015a.html


But the fin whale found in New York is not likely to have fed in Antartic waters:
Fin whales are found in all the oceans of the world, but their migration patterns are not well understood. In the Southern Hemisphere, fin whales migrate south to feed on krill and other plankton in the summer, and north to likely give birth in warm waters closer to the Equator in the winter. However, it is not clear whether all of the population engages in this migration every year.

In the Northern Hemisphere there are similar north-south migrations, and many whales appear to return to the same feeding grounds every year, but the pattern is not so clear, perhaps because of the influence of the Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic. Populations of northern and southern hemispheres never meet.
http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/cetaceans/about/fin_whale/


I have not found information on krill populations in the Artic, but given the information above, that krill feed on algae living under the ice, and given that Artic ice is less than in previous years, logically there would be less krill in Northern oceans for whales and other ocean life to eat. If so, low numbers of krill could collapse the ecosystem of the Northern Atlantic.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 05:40 AM

10. Not true

Other options would be some kind of obstruction preventing it from eating properly, or it could have some disease or injury with the same result. There are all sorts of things that can cause malnoursihment and lack of access to food is just one of them. In any case, lack of food supply more likely to be due to ocean acidification killing off krill than overfishing in this instance.

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Response to NJCher (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 01:11 PM

4. Both statements cannot be true.

First paragraph states, with no uncertainty, it was not killed by humans. Last excerpt of the OP states cause of death is unknown.

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Response to Trillo (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 01:29 PM

5. Oh, yes. It is possible for both statements to be true. The maker of the statement thinks that

humans are not the cause of the whale's death, but he does not know what the cause of its
death is. Of the many possible causes of the whale's death, he knows that just one of them
is not.

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Response to NJCher (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 02:30 PM

6. Corexit is nasty stuff. nt

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