On Wednesday the National Marine Fisheries Service was informed about a dead whale in Oakland Estuary, of an Alameda dock. According to the U.S. Coast Guard Service the animal’s carcass disrupted the traffic at the Port of Oakland.
According to Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Barry the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in collaboration with the Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration towed the whale on Thursday at around 5 AM. The marine animal was taken to a remote location where the researchers could investigate what caused the death of the animal.
According to the researchers it seems that the whale was dragged from the open ocean into San Francisco bay. A container ship could have had something to do with this but it is not yet clear whether the whale died because it was hit by the ship or it was already dead when the vessel came cross it.
According to Lt. J.G. Aulner the ship experienced some tugs and afterwards the crew discovered that there was a whale on the bulbous bow. They did not realize that they had pushed the whale through the Golden Gate. Scientists from Marine Mammal Center collected samples from the remains of the whale but they could not identify what species it is because of its positioning. Center officials speculate that is might be a large baleen whale like a blue or fine whale.
According to authorities finding carcasses of dead whales in the bay is not something that happens too often. This incident is the first one of its kind that occurred this year. Marine Mammal Center reported a stranded whale five years ago last time. The fin male whale died in the San Francisco bay because it was hit by a boat. The animals was found on the bow of a ship.
Researcher Frances Gulland from the Marin Headlands-based Marine Mammal Center said that along with the increase in the worldwide shipping ship strikes could become a real problem. As a consequence local authorities should come up with a solution which can please shipping companies but which at the same time will keep the whales safe.
However there might be something to learn from this as well. Gulland pointed out the following:
Every whale stranding is an important opportunity to learn more about these creatures, and how we can prevent future deaths”
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