Senator Ed Durr issued the following response after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) determined that the deaths of two humpback whales were caused by vessel strikes off the coast of New York and New Jersey.
Sen. Ed Durr issued the following response after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) determined that the deaths of two humpback whales were caused by vessel strikes off the coast of New York and New Jersey. (NJ.com)
“Attributing recent whale deaths solely to ship strikes neglects obvious underlying factors that are likely causing marine mammals to swim into the paths of boats in the first place,” said Durr (R-03). “Whales and other marine mammals use sound, sonar, and sensitive hearing to navigate along our coast, abilities that are almost certainly impacted by noisy survey work related to offshore wind development. They’re likely being disoriented by the noise of the survey work and losing their ability to navigate safely. It’s like blinding another driver with your high beams at night and blaming the bridge abutment they crash into for their injuries. It’s really disingenuous.”
On June 1, two humpback whales were found floating along the coast of New York and New Jersey, according to the NOAA. After further examination, the organization revealed that the whales suffered severe damage to their skull and fins, along with bruises along their blubber after allegedly being struck by a ship.
Since December 2022, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center has identified approximately fifty marine mammals that have washed on shore and died along the New Jersey coast.
In 2018, Governor Murphy conveyed similar concerns about the impact to marine wildlife in a lawsuit against the Trump administration’s efforts to commence offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. In the lawsuit, the Murphy administration alleges that whales, dolphins, and porpoises are vulnerable to human activities that could impair their hearing and impact their ability to avoid danger in the water.
The lawsuit invokes the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972) which was signed into law by President Nixon to bar or limit activities that could cause harm to or disrupt the behavior of marine mammals; especially species who are listed as endangered or protected.
“Governor Murphy’s actions are brazenly two-faced and expose offshore wind efforts as nothing more than a partisan political ploy, undermining the safety of marine wildlife,” Durr stated. “Marine mammals are being harmed and put in danger because of the use of sonar related to offshore wind development. The death of fifty or more whales and dolphins may not matter to Governor Murphy and Big Wind, but New Jerseyans are fed up.”
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