Coast Guard, N.J. State Police enforce safety zone around entangled whale in Raritan Bay

Coast Guard 29-foot Response Boat-Small file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll

Coast Guard 29-foot Response Boat-Small file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll

NEW YORK – The Coast Guard received a report from a Good Samaritan of a possible entangled whale near Raritan Bay, New Jersey, Saturday.

A boarding team from Coast Guard Station New York aboard a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) boat first arrived on scene to obtain situational awareness. A 29-foot Response Boat-Small boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook and a New Jersey State Police (NJSP) vessel arrived on scene shortly after and enforced a safety zone around the whale.

The Coast Guard and NJSP remained on scene to prevent vessels from getting too close to what is believed to be a humpback whale.

At 2:30 p.m., NJSP reported the whale had submerged and had not been relocated after thirty minutes of searching.

The Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries asks boaters in the area to keep a close eye out for the entangled whale and to remember to follow safe viewing guidelines, found here which includes staying 100 yards away from whales for your safety and theirs. Humpback whales can reach lengths of 60 feet and can weigh around 40 tons.

“Safeguarding our waterways and marine ecosystem is the foundation to all of the Coast Guard’s missions – this includes the marine life that inhabits the waters of New York and New Jersey,” said Capt. Jason Tama, commander of Coast Guard Sector New York. “The Coast Guard will continue to monitor any reports of whales in our waters and will promptly engage with our state and federal partners, to ensure the safety of our maritime environment.”

Sightings should be reported to the NOAA Fisheries’ Marine Mammal Stranding and Entanglement Hotline at 866-755-NOAA. Any sighting can also be reported to Coast Guard Sector New York at 718-354-4353.

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