On the New Jersey coastline, boaters and anglers alike are warned not to disturb the humpback whales migrating through.
When one thinks New Jersey, the last thing probably thought of is its wide array of wildlife. However, the Garden State boasts a huge population of every critter from bears to turkeys to…humpback whales? That’s right, there is a massive aquatic migration occurring down the Atlantic seaboard where every animal from bluefish to humpback whales have been spotted feeding in large groups on the shoreline.
Bob Schoelkopf, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center’s found and director told the Asbury Park Press that a humpback whale group has been the primary species spotted mostly due to their feeding habits of pinning prey against the shoreline.
These animal groups are fattening up for the winter, and the whales will continue their journey south to the Silver Bank Sanctuary, a shallow water area near the Dominican Republic until April. They will also mate and birth their new calves there, so the journey north will have a few more whales.
Schoelkopf asked boaters and kayakers to exercise caution as when the whales “are lunge feeding, the last thing in their mind is a boat or kayaker. Safety wise, it’s best to stay as far away as possible.”
He also states that it’s possible the fin whales, that typically feast off mackerel, could remain in the Jersey area since they enjoy chillier water. These whales are the second largest in the whale family and can grow up to 80 feet.
Harbor seals are often visitors to the Jersey coast, as Schoelkopf stated that they “had their first one just the other day on Seaside Heights. He had come up on the beach to rest.”
For our New Jersey readers, we would love to see any of your images or videos from this incredible migration! Otherwise, just remember to keep your distance from the animals that have come to the beach for rest. They just have full tummies and want a break from swimming.