Activists seek answers why so many whales have washed ashore on Jersey beaches

More than half a dozen whales have washed up dead on Jersey beaches since last fall and, according to NOAA. Skeptical shore residents are calling into question the underwater surveying going on in preparation for the offshore wind farm. Save LBI claims they’re getting incomplete survey data on undersea noise and they’re demanding more out of Washington.

Bob Stern has no problem with wind farms or clean energy, but with half a dozen whales washing up dead on Jersey beaches in the last few weeks, the president with Save Long Beach Island says more transparency is needed on sonar surveying happening 20 miles offshore and how it can hurt dolphins and whales.


"To do a serious, thorough investigation of where these vessels were when these incidents happened, what the settings are on these noise devices, to see how much noise is being generated. And, whether these vessels might be the cause of that," Stern explained.

Save LBI has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for complete survey data, which is being done to find the best placement for wind turbines. While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has claimed no direct harm to mammals from sonar surveying equipment, Bob says indirect disturbances are just as deadly.

"Disturbance could mean mother and calf lose communication with each other. They communicate and stay in touch by sound, not by sight," Stern said. "If they’re incurring or experiencing noise levels that block their communication and get separated, ultimately the calf will die."

FOX 29’s Hank Flynn spoke with National Marine Mammal Stranding Center Director Sheila Dean off-camera. She explained the whales recently beached in New Jersey were young, but old enough to be away from their mothers. She added that one had been dead long before washing ashore. Others showed signs of bruising, meaning they could have been hit and, she said warmer temperatures and more food have more whales in Jersey waters and shipping lanes than ever before.