Please enable Javascript to use Top Secret Writers to it's fullest. Without it, you will find much of the modern internet doesn't work. I would add a little button hide this message, but that kind of functionality requires Javascript ;)

Are China and North Korea Gearing Up for World War 3?Previous Article
NASA Continues Simulations to Prepare for Human Life on MarsNext Article

What is Killing Off Whales in Alaska?

Line Spacing+- AFont Size+- Print This Article
What is Killing Off Whales in Alaska?
Since May 2015, more than 30 dead whales have washed up onto the southwestern Alaskan coast. No one knows what caused these deaths. According to an NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) August 20, 2015 news release the event is far from normal (1). NOAA declared the deaths as an “unusual mortality event [UME],” triggering a focused investigation (2).

The Marine Mammal Protection Act defines an UME as “a stranding that is unexpected; involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal population; and demands immediate response” (3).

NOAA reported the death toll since May 2015 as:

–> 11 fin whales
–> 14 humpback whales
–> 1 gray whale
–> 4 unidentified cetaceans (whales and dolphins)

The bodies were discovered “around the islands of the western Gulf of Alaska and the southern shoreline of the Alaska Peninsula”. NOAA reported that these recent “large whale strandings” are historical since they are nearly three times the average number for such strandings. For better understanding, the statistics for strandings during 2010-2014 had an “Avg± 2StDev =8.4 ± 8.2 large whales (range 5-15 whales/year)” (4). However, according to an August 19, 2015 United States Department of Commerce NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service memo, the death toll was:

–> 23 large whales
–> 11 fin (Balaenoptera physalus)
–> 9 humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae)
–> 1 gray (Eschrichtius robustus)
–> 2 unidentified cetaceans (as of July 13, 2015)

The region of the event includes “Kodiak Island, Afognak Island, Chirikof Island, the Semidi Islands and the southern shoreline of the Alaska Peninsula.” So far, most of the whale carcasses weren’t retrievable, having decomposed, but one whale sample was retrieved.

The Investigation Process

With the NOAA’s declaration that the number of whale deaths are an “unusual mortality event” comes a follow-up investigation. This will be undertaken not just by the NOAA, but also state, federal and even tribal partners. The groups have come together to “develop a response plan and conduct a rigorous scientific investigation into the cause of death for the stranded whales.”

NOAA Fisheries’ marine mammal health and stranding response coordinator Dr. Teri Rowles stated, “NOAA Fisheries scientists and partners are very concerned about the large number of whales stranding in the western Gulf of Alaska in recent months.”

Dr. Rowles specified that so far scientists don’t know the reason why the whales are dying. “Our investigations will give us important information on the health of whales and the ecosystems where they live.” The general public is encouraged to assist with the investigation by quickly reporting any dead whales or whales in distress as well as other marine animals.

The “Working Group on Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events” was formed in 1991 as part of the “Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program.” The high number of strandings met the group’s criteria for designating resources to help fund the research.

Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Network members are also assisting NOAA scientists as well as other “partner organizations” in trying to find causation. The scientists don’t expect to have a quick answer. In fact, the NOAA warns that the investigation could take several months, even years, to pinpoint the reason for the deaths.

humpback tail fin

How to Report Stranded or Dead Marine Mammals

The investigation process includes collecting data and then the complex task of analysis. This is all very time-consuming.

For example, if the event lasts a long time, then it stands to reason that the length of time needed for the compilation of data and the time required to analyze and complete the investigation will also take longer.

The NOAA advises the public to report any stranded or dead marine mammals to the Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Network hotline at 877-9-AKR-PRD (877-925-7773).

Trained marine mammal experts are the only ones authorized to respond to distressed marine mammals (5).

Updates on the investigation will be published on the NOAA website as more information becomes available.

References & Image Credits:
(1) TSW: NOAA Dolphin Deaths
(2) Alaska Fisheries
(3) NOAA
(4) NOAA: Whales
(5) NOAA: Large Whales

Originally published on


What Caused These Strange Ocean Sounds?

What Caused These Strange Ocean Sounds?

Over the past decades, various ocean sounds have been recorded that don't have any known explanation and have left scientists baffled. (more…) [...]

“The thing about the truth is, not a lot of people can handle it.” -Conor McGregor

BECOME A PATREON SUPPORTER and decide what stories we investigate!

Donate to Support TSW!

Top Secret Editors

Ryan is the founder of Top Secret Writers. He is an IT analyst, blogger, journalist, and a researcher for the truth behind strange stories.
Lori is TSW's editor. Freelance writer and editor for over 17 years, she loves to read and loves fringe science and conspiracy theory.

Top Secret Writers

Gabrielle is a journalist who finds strange stories the media misses, and enlightens readers about news they never knew existed.
Sally is TSW’s health/environmental expert. As a blogger/organic gardener, she’s investigates critical environmental issues.
Mark Dorr grew up the son of a treasure hunter. His experiences led to working internationally in some surprising situations!
Mark R. Whittington, from Houston, Texas, frequently writes on space, science, political commentary and political culture.

Join Other Conspiracy Theory Researchers on Facebook!

Get a Top Secret Bumper Sticker!

Comment on Breaking Stories

Powered by Disqus