There are few places as lovely as the Jersey Shore. I have written about it extensively over the years. The history of Cape May. The wide-open beaches of Wildwood. Everyone who visits the special locations has a responsibility to protect it.
That is why so many people are upset about the rash of whale deaths recently.
Over the last month, seven (yes, seven) whales have washed up dead along the Jersey Shore. The most recent whale washed up just miles from where another whale was found in Atlantic City just a few days ago. This is just an unreal chain of events.
Many individuals, myself included, believe this is due to the the work taking place off the Jersey Shore to develop three wind farms.
“What a sad end to an animal in the prime of her life and an endangered species,” Cindy Zipf, executive director of Long Branch-based non-profit, Clean Ocean Action, told NJ Advance Media while walking on the beach. “The federal government should have been here with busloads of people really doing an examination if they were taking this seriously.”
Danish wind power developer, Orsted, has been hired to build two of the three approved offshore wind projects. According to the company, its current work does not involve using any technology that could disturb whales. However, I have been unable to identify exactly what work they are doing.
A variety of groups, politicians, and Jersey residents, like me, want to see these projects halted until a thorough investigation has been completed.
I’ll be honest; I was never a fan of the wind farms. I had serious environmental concerns about them, as well as potential fluid leaks that can occur from this type of equipment.
Questions about this project have been brought to Governor Murphy and according to the governor, the whale deaths have nothing to do with the offshore wind farm project, citing information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
“They have said it’s been happening at an increased rate since 2016, and that was long before there was any offshore wind activity,” the governor said. “It looks like some of these whales have been hit by vessels.”
There are a variety of environmental group that still support the offshore wind farm plan.
“Blaming offshore wind projects on whale mortality without evidence is not only irresponsible but overshadows the very real threats of climate change, plastic pollution, and unsustainable fishery management practices to these animals,” said the Sierra Club’s New Jersey director, Anjuli Ramos-Busot.
As usual, there’s a political aspect to this story; like most things these days. However, this goes beyond politics in my opinion.We are blessed to have such a beautiful shoreline in our state. We all have a duty to protect it. Whether it is taking your trash with you at the end of the day or protecting the creatures of the sea, we all play a role.