A dead whale washed ashore a beach in Northern California earlier this week, making it the third whale to wash ashore in the past week and the fifth time since March.
The Whale was discovered on Bolinas Beach near Point Reyes National Seashore on Tuesday and scientists from the Marine Mammal Center plan to perform a necropsy on it soon to determine the cause of death.
3rd dead whale washes-up in the Bay Area. @TMMC will do a necropsy on the female fin whale in Bolinas. Last Friday, female fin whale found near Jack London Square & female gray whale washed up at Tennessee Valley Beach. Both hit by ships. @nbcbayarea https://t.co/jsYFiktHd1 pic.twitter.com/EZgSIzIqCL
â€” Janelle Wang (@janellewang) May 24, 2018
This has become an all-too common occurrence in NorCal, with whales found near Oakland’s Jack London Square and Tennessee Valley Beach on the same day last week. Both were killed when they were struck by boats. They ranged from 36 to 45 feet long.
Scientists agree that the whales were most likely feeding off the bay floor when they came up to the surface and were struck by the boat. Although boat traffic in the area can cause these deaths, most of the whale deaths in the area are from the mammals getting entangled in fishing gear. Earlier in March and April, two whales were found in the bay, with one dying from a fishing gear entanglement.
Death of a second female fin whale this week. Incredibly unfortunate, particular since fin whales are an endangered species. Plan for necropsy in the works (ðŸ“·/ Marjorie Cox) pic.twitter.com/to57O128HQ
â€” The Marine Mammal Center (@TMMC) May 24, 2018
Whales migrate from the Baja area of California up north from about early-March through May. Some whales even make areas like the Redwood National Park their home for the summer months.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there were 31 whale entanglements in fishing gear reported off the West Coast in 2017, lower than in the previous two years, but still much higher than pre-2014 levels