Conservation authorities are investigating the death of a porpoise that was found deceased, washed up near the Sixth Avenue beach early Tuesday morning.
According to Toms River police, the porpoise was found at about 7:30 a.m. near the site of the former Joey Harrison’s Surf Club property. By afternoon, the mammal was removed.
The Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine was expected to perform a necropsy on the creature to determine its cause of death. The mammal that washed up was identified as a harbor porpoise, a species visually similar to a dolphin except for a smaller frame, fins and other features. The last porpoise to wash ashore locally was found Jan. 29, 2023 at Island Beach State Park; it is the 24th dolphin or porpoise to wash ashore in New Jersey since December, the MMSC said.
More than a dozen whales, including one in Seaside Park on March 1, have also washed up on Jersey Shore beaches this winter.
Several local communities have passed resolutions calling for a moratorium on acoustic research being conducted offshore in preparation for the construction of wind turbines in several swaths of ocean off the New Jersey coast. The campaign has garnered more than 345,000 signatures in an online petition and has also been backed by several members of the U.S. Congress as well as environmental advocates.
The federal government, as well as some opposing environmental groups that are in support of offshore wind development, have brushed off the concerns about acoustic signals affecting marine mammals, arguing that data shows the width of radiofrequency spectrum used in ocean floor mapping research is so narrow that it is unlikely to affect the communication abilities of dolphins, whales and similar species.