Minke Whale Die-Off Continues as Another Washes Up in Marshfield

MARSHFIELD –The die-off of minke whales along the New England coast continues as the carcass of an adult washed up in Marshfield on Tuesday.

Another minke washed up in Barnstable Harbor this past weekend.

The New England Aquarium said the whale in Marshfield was the second to come ashore in the Brant Rock neighborhood over the past two months.

Minke whales have been dying in much higher than normal numbers along the U.S. east coast since 2017.

In 2018, of the 26 known minke whale deaths, 20 have occurred in New England with 9 in Massachusetts, 8 in Maine, 2 in New Hampshire and 1 in Rhode Island.

NOAA has declared an unusual mortality event for the species.

Minke whales are the smallest of the large whale species found in local waters.

Biologists measured the animal found dead on Tuesday at about 26 feet in length, which would likely indicate that it was a young adult. Minkes can grow up to 33 feet in length.

The body had been heavily scavenged by sharks and has limited necropsy value in determining its death. Aquarium biologists did measure an average blubber thickness.

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