NJDEP: Climate Change Not Wind Farming Likely Cause Of Recent Whale Deaths

By: Gabrielle Mills, Follow South Jersey Contributing Writer

SOUTH JERSEY – Whales have been popping up all over the East Coast shore line. In New Jersey and New York the number of beached whales have been steadily on the rise since 2016. According to the New York Times 23 whales have been found ashore since last December through this February, of which 12 were found between New Jersey and New York.

Initially, the current uptick in marine mammal deaths was thought to be caused by offshore wind farming facilities. Offshore wind farms have been a large part of New Jersey’s push towards clean energy.

In 2018 Governor Murphy signed executive order number 8 which hopes to increase the usage of such farms to power NJ homes. These farms work via large deep water wind turbines that convert energy into power in onshore facilities.

However, according to the New Jersey Department Environmental Protection, offshore wind farms are not the cause of death for these beached whales. “As of March 2023 no offshore wind  related construction activities are  taking place off of the New Jersey coast, and the DEP is aware of no credible evidence that offshore wind related survey activities could cause whale mortality” 

Officials at the DEP fear climate change is the culprit. The  “DEP remains concerned that ocean temperatures, which are projected to increase due to human-caused climate change caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels, will continue to adversely impact marine mammals, including whales, their food sources, habitats, and migration patterns.” 

The NJDEP plans to continuously monitor the situation, hoping to find the cause of these deaths. 

Offshore Wind Diagram Department of Environmental Protection

Follow South Jersey provides local journalism which highlights our diverse communities; fosters transparency through robust, localized, and vital reporting that holds leaders and institutions accountable; addresses critical information needs; supports people in navigating civic life; and equips people with the information necessary to partake in effective community engagement. If there is a story or event you think we should cover, please send your tips to news@followsouthjersey.com with “NEWS” in the subject line.