humpbacks return to the hudson
an amazing thing
In 2018 Gotham Whale, a non-profit organisation, recorded a record number of whale sightings off New York City. Sightings jumped to 272 since 2011 when just 5 whales were recorded. This sightings in 2019 have broken that record with 377 whales, mostly humpbacks, spotted in the waters surrounding New York.
In addition, New York has one of the busiest ports on the east coast. Constant sea traffic often means boat collisions with whales, some of which prove to be fatal. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has recorded 103 known humpback whale deaths since 2016, with around 50% showing signs of human inflicted injuries, such as ship strikes or net entanglement.
Another reason for the return of whales is the introduction of a number of laws protecting them and other marine animals from hunting and other activities. Laws such as the Clean Water Act, have also helped clean up the Hudson River and make it habitable again. And as pollution levels have fallen plankton and other lifeforms have bounced back, providing a food base for whales’ favourite fish, menhaden.
As top predators, the return of humpback whales to the Hudson bodes well for the Atlantic’s health. As well as whales, other species such as sharks have been returning to the waters around New York. Great White Sharks have even been seen around Long Island during summer.