High Numbers of Humpback Whales Dying Off Atlantic Coast
And officials aren't sure what's causing it
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 26, 2017 8:18 PM CDT
This April 24, 2017 photo provided by MERR Institute, Inc. shows a dead whale at Port Mahon, Del. Federal officials said humpback whales have been dying in unusually large numbers along the Atlantic Coast....   (Suzanne Thurman)

(Newser) – Federal officials say humpback whales have been dying in unusually large numbers along the Atlantic Coast, the AP reports. According to the News Journal, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Fisheries declared it an "unusual mortality event," which is called when higher-than-normal numbers of marine mammals die for unknown reasons.

Marine Education, Research, and Rehabilitation Institute Executive Director Suzanne Thurman says a decomposing whale washed into shallow water in the Delaware Bay recently, but weather is hampering efforts to study it. Thurman says it apparently was a juvenile humpback. If confirmed, it would be the fourth stranded in Delaware waters in a year, an unusually high number. Four have stranded off Virginia and there was a stranding last fall off Long Island.

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