Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Cleaner New York waters see surge in whale and shark numbers

Humpback whales and great white sharks are surging in numbers in the waters around New York City this summer, in a wildlife bonanza that is delighting naturalists, environmentalists and fishermen – if not necessarily bathers.

Off New York and New Jersey, some of the largest creatures in the ocean are being spotted in greater abundance than has been the case for decades. Paul Sieswerda, head of the Gotham Whale volunteer marine wildlife tracking group, believes the increasing abundance of whales around the Big Apple is largely prompted by cleaner waters that have encouraged huge rises in the populations of fish which the whales eat.

Sieswerda takes boat tours to locations where giant humpback whales can be seen feeding – with the iconic Manhattan skyline in the background.

“I would say it’s only about four miles from the Statue of Liberty,” he told the Guardian.

Gotham Whale counted 29 whales, all humpbacks, in New York waters from the start of the feeding season in the spring to the end of July 2014, compared with 43 for the whole 2013 season, 25 in 2012 and five in 2011.

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