This humpback whale washed up in Brigantine. (Photo courtesy of Robin Shaffer)


VENTNOR – The Board of Commissioners Thursday, Jan. 26 joined several other shore communities in calling for a moratorium of offshore wind development until state and federal agencies determine exploration activities are not a contributing factor in the recent deaths of whales.

The resolution states the city supports energy programs, but seeks the cause of the deaths of nine whales that have washed up on South Jersey beaches and elsewhere over the last two months.

“The mayor and commissioners of the City of Ventnor are of the opinion that offshore activity should be suspended pending further research as to the potential impact such activity has on the whales and other marine life,” the resolution states.

The commissioners sent the approved resolution to federal, state and county representatives.

“We don’t know if its being caused by the work they are doing out there, nobody does. Let’s find out why,” Commissioner of Public Works Lance Landgraf said. “We support offshore wind and renewable energy. We need to do something, but we don’t want to do it where it’s hurting our marine environment.”

Ocean City and Brigantine have adopted similar resolutions and on Saturday, Jan. 21, environmental groups gathered near the Ventnor Fishing Pier to advocate for the whales.

Why are whales dying in record numbers, advocates ask.

In recent weeks, environmental groups have taken different sides in the controversy over eight dead whales that washed up on the beaches of New Jersey, New York and Maryland since December. A ninth dead whale washed up on a shore in Virginia according to published reports. In the last several weeks, whales have washed up in Atlantic City, one in Brigantine and one in Strathmere. Necropsies were performed, but the results have yet to be released.

Some of the environmental groups are questioning whether sonar mapping of the seabed for the wind farm project could be related to the whale deaths. Other groups are saying that there is no direct evidence to tie the whales washing ashore to any work related to the wind farm.

On its website’s frequently asked questions about wind farms and whale deaths, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, said there is no evidence to support speculation that noise resulting from wind farm development is responsible for whale deaths.

“We will continue to gather data to help us determine the cause of death for these mortality events. We will also continue to explore how sound, vessel, and other human activities in the marine environment impact whales and other marine mammals,” the website states.

NJ Sen. Vince Polistina (R-Atlantic) said he is not against the wind project, but urged Gov. Phil Murphy to order a suspension of all offshore wind development activities until a full and proper investigation can be conducted to determine if there is any connection between the deaths and ongoing work.


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Categories: Ventnor

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.