Plastic cups. Beer cans. Balloons. Bilge…That’s what we usually encounter in our corner of Long Island Sound just north of New York City. But who knew “junk” fish (bunker) could be so attractive?
Dan Reiner gets the scoop: LOHUD The Journal News (July 25, 2016—all photos from that report):
Humpback Whale Seen Off New Rochelle
New Rochelle resident Dan Rogers headed out with some friends on a fishing trip Thursday morning, with hopes of catching some blue fish in the Long Island Sound. Around 1:30 p.m., he got an unexpected visitor several yards from his boat, when a humpback whale breached its head.
“It was kind of wild,” Rogers said Friday. “There was a ton of bait fish out there yesterday. They were getting attacked by blue fish and the whale came in and started feeding on the bait fish.”
Rogers was fishing in the Sound between the New Rochelle shore and Execution Rocks Light. Some boaters followed the whale at a distance as it continued to feed and breach for air, he said.
The Coast Guard sent out a radio transmission Thursday warning boaters to stay at least 100 yards away from the whale. [Oh, ya think?] On Friday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard Sector New York said no further details were available.
“We have sightings around Long Island all the time for different species of whales,” said Valentina Sherlock, program coordinator at the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research & Preservation. She said it’s hard to tell if whales commonly enter the waters near Westchester due to a lack of citizen reporting.
“You are going to see in the coming years — a lot more effort into whale monitoring if people continue reporting,” she said. Westchester’s most recent whale sighting had been last September, when a humpback made its way through New Rochelle and Larchmont.
Anthony Lalli, a New Rochelle resident and fisherman of 35 years, described two whale sightings in one year as “unbelievable.” Last week, he said, a large sea turtle swam up alongside his fishing boat, also near Execution Rocks Light. Lalli pointed to clean-up efforts in the Sound as a possible reason for the increase in marine activity.
On Friday, the whale was reported to be seen headed east on the Sound toward northern Westchester and Connecticut.