Alarming number of whales found dead on the eastern coast


Sydney Teeter

Renowned local seafood restaurant and crabhouse, Bubba’s, closed Jan. 19, 2023.

A juvenile male humpback whale, believed to have been between two and three years old according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), was found dead in a local seafood restaurant and crab house, Bubbas’, fishing nets. Ultimately adding another to the already abnormal number of beached whales found recently.

“It’s sad to think about the concept behind the size of a whale. The whale was labeled as a juvenile but still weighs half a ton. So the measure of life and time scale is sad,” said AP Environmental Science and Oceanography teacher Santo Ripa.

Many believe the whale to have been dead beforehand and drifted into Bubba’s fishing nets.

“I don’t think it is Bubba’s fault because it seems that the whale was already dead before it got caught, but I still think it is very important to be aware of these animals washing onto the shores of the east coast and what is causing their deaths,” said surfrider club member senior Alexis Zettervall.

Yet Bubba’s is still receiving some backlash for it since some believe Bubba’s is at fault and involved in a scandal to cover up the incident. But most agree it was deceased before ever reaching the nets.

“A juvenile whale would’ve ripped through those nets,” said Ripa.

The cause of death is still unknown due to the extent of decomposition of the whale carcass. This marks the 105th humpback whale found stranded on beaches across the U.S. since 2016, according to WTKR.

“These ‘unusual mortality events’ have actually been going on since about 2017 but no real evidence has been found to point towards human interaction, meaning propeller wounds or other traumas. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not caused by warming ocean waters or increased toxins in the water,” said senior Surfrider Foundation club chairman Zoe Hall.

When half of the whales were examined, approximately 40 percent of them had indications of human interaction, either ship strike or entanglement, according to the NOAA.

“I’m sad about it, it’s sad. I hate it,” said Ripa.