A sub-adult female fin whale was recently discovered beached along Pigeon Hill Bay in Steuben, Maine. The nearly 50-foot-long whale, which was found emaciated and lifeless, mysteriously disappeared after a storm hit the area. Researchers from Allied Whale, a marine research division of the College of the Atlantic, are eager to locate the whale carcass and examine it in hopes of determining the cause of death. They face the challenge of locating the whale before decomposition advances too far and interferes with any meaningful analysis.
Fin whales are endangered and protected under federal law, with an estimated population of around 6,800 individuals in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Several factors contribute to their dwindling numbers, including ship strikes, entanglements in fishing gear, and the lasting effects of historical whale hunting. The investigation into this particular whale’s death will contribute valuable data to ongoing research on marine mammal populations and the potential impact of climate change on their survival. Allied Whale encourages anyone who comes across the dead whale or any stranded marine mammals to contact them at 207-266-1326.