30 Dead Whales, NOAA Declares “Unusual Mortality Event”

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According to alaskafisheries.noaa.gov, an unusual mortality event “is a stranding event that is unexpected, involves a significant die-off of a marine mammal population, and demands immediate response.

Why all this worry? Since May 2015, 30 whales (11 fin whales, 14 humpback whales, one gray whale, and four unidentified cetaceans) have been found around the western Gulf of Alaska and the southern shoreline of the Alaska Peninsula. This is alarming because for this region, this is almost three times the historical average, something never seen before.

By declaring this an unusual mortality event, the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and federal state can come up with an immediate response plan, which will include conducting demanding scientific tests and investigations. The Working Group of Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events has already recommended the NOAA declaration and advised they meet all the criteria to receive resources and help with research.

This research and investigation could take months, if you see a stranded or dead marine mammal or if you know something that can assist them through this investigation, please contact the Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Network at 877-9-AKR-PRD (877-925-7773). They advise that the public should not touch stranded or floating whales.

If you want to keep yourself updates, NOAA will publish information here as it becomes available.

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