Another Three Gray Whales are Found Dead, Bringing the Total in Alaska to Ten

June 20, 2019

NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region has received reports of three additional dead gray whales, bringing the number of gray whale mortalities in Alaska to ten.

Julie Speegle
Public Affairs Officer
(907) 586-7032
julie.speegle@noaa.gov
A dead gray whale found near Wrangell, Alaska. Taken 6/17/2019. Credit: Ceona Koch

A dead gray whale found near Wrangell, Alaska. Taken 6/17/2019. Credit: Ceona Koch

NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region has received reports of three additional dead gray whales this week, bringing the number of gray whale mortalities in Alaska to ten.

The confirmed gray whale reports all came from Southeast Alaska. On Monday, a fisherman reported a dead floating gray whale near Wrangell. Thanks to assistance from the U.S. Forest Service, the whale was secured to a beach. A team led by NOAA Fisheries veterinarian Kate Savage is performing a necropsy today.

2400x3200 Wrangell 8.jpg

A dead gray whale floats near Wrangell, Alaska. Taken 6/17/2019. Credit: Ceona Koch

Late Tuesday, NOAA received two more gray whale reports. One gray whale was beached on the outer coast of Kruzof Island, west of Sitka. There are no plans to conduct a necropsy on this whale because of its advanced state of decomposition and remote location. The third gray whale is a fresh carcass floating near Point Davis and Annette Island, south of Ketchikan. If this gray whale is secured, NOAA plans to assemble a team to perform a necropsy.

3300x2500 Meltakatla AK gray whale 10.jpg

Floating gray whale discovered Tuesday near Metlakatla. Alaska's tenth dead gray whale for 2019. Photo credit Kyle Worman

NOAA Fisheries declared the elevated rate of gray whale strandings along the West Coast an Unusual Mortality Event on May 31. The UME extends all along the West Coast, from Mexico up through Alaska. Currently, there are 81 gray whale mortalities in the United States, with a total of 167 dead gray whales when Mexico and Canada are included.

CER 2019, 2019.06.19.jpg

Map indicating locations where dead gray whales have been found in Alaska.

If you see a marine mammal in distress or stranded, immediately call NOAA's Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline at 877-925-7773.