🐳 The 20-foot whale was found Wednesday

🐳 Low tide prevented the whale from being removed right away

🐳 The whale was covered in a substance

MIDDETOWN — A whale was found dead Wednesday at the state marina in Leonardo, the 17th to strand this year along the state's coast.

The Marine Mammal Stranding Center said the carcass of a 20-foot Minke whale was wedged upside down between a breakwater and the bulkhead at the marina along Sandy Hook Bay.

The tide was falling, making it impossible for equipment to bring in the equipment needed to remove the whale. Middletown Township Public Works and the MMSC are scheduled to recover the carcass Thursday morning at high tide.

The reason for the reddish color on the whale was not disclosed.

Stranded whale at Leonardo Marina in Middletown 10/18/23
Stranded whale at Leonardo Marina in Middletown 10/18/23 (Marine Mammal Stranding Center)

Whale not removed right away

It is the second Minke whale to strand itself at the Jersey Shore.

A 22-foot Minke stranded itself several times in shallow water around Barnegat Bay at the beginning of October only to be brought to deeper water by MMSC volunteers. Its body weakened with every near-stranding until it was euthanized. It was towed to Island Beach State Park for a necropsy.

Minkes are the smallest whales and are not endangered or threatened. They are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Wind farm controversy

As New Jersey continues to push forward with wind power development off the coast, opponents have asked for a pause in work in order for an investigation into a possible connection to the strandings.

Their requests have been rejected by the Murphy administration, whose officials say there is no evidence linking the deaths to the work of mapping the ocean floor to prepare for construction.

Cape May County and several local groups filed a lawsuit against the federal government, hoping to bury plans to erect a wind farm off of New Jersey's southern coast.

At the same time, an ocean advocacy group is calling on leaders in New Jersey to quit green-lighting any offshore wind development for the future.

Previous reporting by Dino Flammia was used in this report

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