A young fin whale was recently discovered washed up on a Steuben beach in a rare occurrence that attracted attention throughout the weekend. The female whale measured nearly 50 feet in length and was found by 9 a.m. on Thursday, with no clear signs of trauma or entanglement before passing away around 11:30 a.m. on the same day. Jeff Nichols, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Marine Resources, shared details about the incident on Sunday.
Fin whales are known to be one of the four large whale species that inhabit the Gulf of Maine and are considered the second-largest in the world after the blue whale. The beached whale, aged between 2 and 5 years old, was 49.5 feet long as a sub-adult. Sightings of whales washing ashore were rare in the 1980s and 1990s, but there has been an increase in such incidents along the East Coast in recent years. Researchers have attributed these occurrences to a variety of factors, including vessel strikes, entanglements in fishing gear, and the effects of climate change.