Whale washed up on Nelson Island beach

This whale was found on a beach on Nelson Island. photo by Jimmie Lincoln

by Greg Lincoln

Another whale has washed up on the shores of the Bering Sea on Nelson Island, as shown in this photo.

The whale was photographed by Jimmie Lincoln of Toksook Bay. He spotted it while on a beachcombing expedition last week on Tuesday during low tide.

The whale, which looked like it hadn’t been there for too long was approximately 10 miles from Lincoln’s home village of Toksook Bay near Anqercaraq. The baleen looked pale, he said.

“Anqercaram kiatiini,” he said. Before you reach Anqercaraq from Toksook and before the old settlement site of Upnerkilleq.

The whale looked to be fresh, hardly any decomposition. It was approximately 30 feet in length, with a small fin on its back. Its front fins look small and short. What kind of whale it is and how or why it died are a mystery.

Where did it come from and where was it going?

Whales washing up on shores from the west coast of North America to Alaska have been making headlines since last year, specifically gray whales.

On May 31st,2019, the NOAA Fisheries declared the elevated rate of gray whale strandings along the West Coast an Unusual Mortality Event. The UME extends all along the West Coast, from Mexico up through Alaska. The total number of strandings for gray whales in 2019 was 123. Currently, there have been 32 gray whale mortalities in the Alaska as of August 4th, 2020. Washington has reported 10, Oregon 3, and California 18.

Here’s what NOAA would like you to do if you find a stranded or deceased whale in your area.

Report a Stranded or Floating Whale

The most important action someone can take is to immediately report a dead, injured, or stranded marine mammal. Make the report by calling in California, Oregon or Washington the West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network: 1-866-767-6114, in Alaska the Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Network: 1-877-925-7773, and in Canada, the British Columbia Marine Mammal Response Network 1-800-465-4336.

You can also contact the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16. Do not approach or touch injured or dead marine mammals.

All marine mammals are federally protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Only local and state officials and people authorized by NOAA Fisheries may legally handle live and dead marine mammals.