Yet Another Humpback Whale Dead Found Dead

Commentary By: Morgan Reitzel, Follow South Jersey Intern

LONG BRANCH, N.J. – When you picture a whale, you think of a giant sea creature that can survive anything, yet many turn up dead at the New Jersey shore. 

On Aug. 12 a dead humpback whale washed up on the Long Branch Beach with an unknown cause of death. 

On Aug. 13 during the afternoon, the local officials worked with the Stranding Center and the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society to safely remove the whale from the beach. Officials must perform a necropsy, (an animal autopsy), to determine the whale’s cause of death and physical condition. In addition, the washed up whale was reported by a bystander to the Long Branch police on Saturday afternoon. 

Unfortunately, this humpback whale now makes a total of seven humpback whales that have turned up dead on the Jersey Shore for the 2023 year according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Furthermore, 12 out of 18 humpback whales were killed due to blunt force trauma constituent of being hit with a ship or a boat on the East Coast. Sadly, humpback whales can now be considered as an endangered species in the United States according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or the NOAA. 

More research on the death of humpback whales is needed which is why the committee of the NOAA gathered local and state officials to figure out how to help the whales in May 2023 which included New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette. 

LaTourette argues that, “that climate change has resulted in warmer water, forcing the prey whales feed off to migrate to new areas and thus the whales follow and collide with large vessels. Besides ship strikes, the NJDEP commissioner said whales are also experiencing adverse effects by becoming entangled in abandoned commercial fishing gear.” 

Without a large change, it’s not a far off notion that humpback whales may become extinct soon. 

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 with “NEWS” in the subject line.