So many gray whale carcasses have washed up this year along the Washington State coast that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries is asking state waterfront landowners to allow dead gray whales to decompose on their property.
But who WOULDN’T want a 20-ton whale corpse rotting on their property?!
But the carcasses can be up to 40 feet (12 meters) long. That’s a lot to decay, and it could take months. Landowner Mario Rivera of Port Hadlock, Washington, told KING5-TV that the smell is intermittent and “isn’t that bad.”
“It is really a unique opportunity to have this here on the beach and monitor it and see how fast it goes,” said his wife, Stefanie Worwag.
The federal agency said that about 30 whales have stranded on Washington’s coast this year, the most in two decades.
On the U.S. West coast, about 70 whales have been found dead this year along California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska, the most since 2000. About five were found on British Columbia beaches. Still, that’s a small fraction of the total number because most sink or wash up in remote areas and are unrecorded.
NOAA Fisheries late last month declared the die-off an “unusual mortality event,” and provided additional resources to respond to the deaths.
“With the unusual mortality event of these gray whales, we know more whales will be coming in, or there is a high likelihood that more whales will die within Puget Sound and out on the coast,” said Port Townsend Marine Science Center Citizen Science Coordinator Betsy Carlson.
But who WOULD like a 20-ton whale corpse rotting on their property?!