LONG BRANCH, N.J. - The carcass of a North Atlantic right whale — a critically endangered species — was found floating off the Jersey shore on Thursday, federal authorities said.
An aerial survey team from the Center for Coastal Studies spotted the whale floating off the coast of Elberon, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (Eberon is part of Long Branch in Monmouth County.)
"The Marine Mammal Stranding Center (MMSC) and NOAA are currently working with resources in the area to secure a necropsy location," NOAA said in a statement, "and members of the stranding network are making plans to assist in this effort, so we can learn information about this animal."
North Atlantic right whales can grow to 52 feet and 70 tons. Scientists believe they could live as long as 70 years but don't because of threats. Instead, females live to about 45 and males to about 50.
This is the first North Atlantic right whale found dead in U.S. waters this year but is the 31st found dead in U.S. and Canadian waters since 2017, NOAA said. That is the year NOAA began observing what is called an "unusual mortality event" of the species.
NOAA said the Marine Mammal Stranding Center was heading out to the whale carcass with the U.S. Coast Guard to take photos from the water.
With The Associated Press