Are humpback whales returning to Long Island Sound?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said it believes several humpbacks are feeding on small fish close to shore.
Harvey Thompson from Ansonia has forty years of boating experience off the Connecticut Coast.
“I’ve seen porpoises out here,” he said, “there are seals in the wintertime, but never a whale.”
Even though he’s never seen a whale, Thompson knows, “you can watch them, but don’t harass them it’s against the law to get too near them.”
Recently, there have been several sightings of humpbacks in the western stretch of Long Island Sound.
“These humpback whales are fascinating,” said Curt Johnson, the executive director of Connecticut Fund for the Environment’s Save the Sound. “What they do is they dive under a school they blow bubbles and pull them up then they open up their mouths to like 12 feet wide and gobble up a huge amount.”
Investments by the state to clean up the water are setting the table for the return of whales searching for food, Johnson said.
“Now the sound is starting to be able to support these tens of thousands of additional fish,” he added.
While humpbacks are not harmful, harming them is a federal offense. Boaters should never chase them, Johnson said.
“Keep 150 feet away, cut your motor, stop and enjoy one of the true miracles of living on this great earth of ours,” he said.
Next time Thompson goes for a ride in the sound, he’ll be watching for whales.
“They are a beautiful thing to look at,” he said.
If you spot a whale or see someone harassing one of these majestic marine mammals, the NOAA would like to hear from you.
For sightings call, 866-755-NOAA (6622). For harassment complaints, call at 800-853-1964.