DEP: Spike In Whale Sightings Near NYC Due In Part To Dramatic Increase In Water Quality

https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/07/25/new-york-harbor-humpback-whale-sightings-department-of-environmental-protection-nyc-water-quality/

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If you think there are more whales in our area, you’re not alone.

Scientists say the whale population has already doubled in New York Harbor compared to last year, and scientists say it has a lot to do with better water quality.

CBS2’s Lisa Rozner went behind the scenes with the Department of Environmental Protection to find out why.

Drone Force 2 flew from Great Kills Harbor on Staten Island into the Raritan Bay, where just last Tuesday a humpback whale was spotted around 50 feet away from a fishing boat.

“We were just going on about our day and then we heard it come up, the breathing with the big blow hole,” Matt Lanier said.

“It was maybe half the size of a bus,” Alex Carr added.

The number of whale sightings have skyrocketed. The non profit Gotham Whale tracked just three sightings in 2011, but there were 80 times more — 241! — in 2018.

One reason for the turnaround is there’s more menhaden — or bunker fish — in the water and a lot less pollution.