Four whales die in 4 days: Wind farms creating ‘death zone’ at sea says ex-Greenpeace boss
Drilling foundations for offshore wind turbines and sound pulses used to prepare for the 900-foot towers may be creating a “death zone” for whales, a former Greenpeace chief claims.
Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace and its ex-president in Canada, believes the acoustic systems used by vessels surveying the ocean floor harm the marine mammals’ sense of hearing – risking their crucial ability to navigate, and leading to more dead whales washing up onshore.
His intervention comes after four minke whale corpses were discovered between Thursday and Sunday in New York and New England, one of them on Friday in Moriches Bay, close to Westhampton, Long Island.
The four-day run of death began in Eastham, on Cape Cod, Mass., on Thursday, with a second minke found at York, Maine, on Friday, and the final corpse at Gloucester, Mass. on Sunday.
At least 36 “large” whales have washed up along the East Coast since Dec. 1, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Concerns that a spike in whale deaths is linked to offshore wind turbine planning and construction is being expressed by Patrick Moore, a former head of Greenpeace Canada. New York and New Jersey have seen high numbers of whale corpses found in the last six months, according to federal data. NY Post composite
The toll of whale deaths includes 16 humpbacks thus far in 2023, seven of them found along the New Jersey shore.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared an “unusual mortality event” among humpbacks in January 2016.
This year’s mortalities are on pace to shatter 2017’s tally of 34, federal data shows.
The overall scale of whale deaths could be even worse: NOAA does not have a public tracker for toothed whales, such as narwhals and beluga whales.
Republican lawmakers in New Jersey said last week they wanted a 60-day moratorium on offshore wind farm development to investigate any possible link to the rash of carcasses.
Massive offshore wind turbines up to 900-feet tall have been given the go-ahead off both New York and New Jersey, as part of moves to increase renewable energy production.