Eight dolphins were killed along the coast of Sea Isle City, New Jersey, Tuesday, the latest marine mammal strandings potentially linked to offshore wind projects, according to a Marine Mammal Stranding Center statement.
The dolphins were found on the beach sometime before 11 a.m., two of them died instantly, while the other six were treated by a veterinarian and later had to be euthanized, according to a Marine Mammal Stranding Center (MMSC) statement. Some in the state believe offshore wind projects are responsible for the dolphins and other recent marine mammal deaths.
“The decision was made to humanely euthanize the dolphins to prevent further suffering, as returning them to the ocean would have only prolonged their inevitable death,” the MMSC said in the statement. “We share in the public’s sorrow for these beautiful animals, and hope that the necropsies will help us understand the reason for their stranding,” they added.
All eight deceased dolphins were transported to the NJ state lab for immediate necropsies.
Rescuers are pouring buckets of ocean water on the 6 of 8 stranded dolphins still alive on Sea Isle City beach. Dolphins can overheat fast so their skin needs to be kept cool & wet. Soaked towels & blankets are covering the dolphins, but always NOT covering fins or blowholes. pic.twitter.com/tRGdLho5cr
— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) March 21, 2023
“The mass stranding of eight dolphins in Sea Isle City is sadly just the latest tragedy in the unprecedented and growing loss of marine life along the Jersey Shore over the past few months that simply cannot be ignored,” Republican New Jersey congressman Chris Smith told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Without serious, aggressive, and independent analysis on the ocean-altering impact of these projects, they must be paused,” Smith added.
Offshore wind projects have been blamed for recent marine mammal deaths in the state, including nearly 15 dolphins since mid-February, according to Nature World News. Additionally, since December 2022, over 20 whales have washed up along east coast shores near survey sites for future offshore wind projects at an unusual mortality rate, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
“We know that the offshore wind industry has been off the coast of NJ doing high-resolution geophysical sea floor mapping that can maim or kill our sea life, especially high impact low-frequency sound discharged into the ocean,” Suzanne Hornick, co-founder of Protect Our Coast NJ told the DCNF. “Sound waves can travel hundreds of miles underwater. Any animal that relies on echolocation or sonar to live, communicate, forage or hide from predators will be affected!” Hornick added.
Protect Our Coast NJ hopes to see complete necropsy results and if they show acoustic damage to the dolphin’s ears.
The Biden administration has pushed for offshore winds as part of its green energy goals. Just weeks ago, the administration more than doubled funding to expand NOAA’s offshore wind permitting activities.
The Marine Mammal Stranding Center did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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