🔴 It's the first dolphin stranding on the Jersey Shore since April

🔴 The sub-adult female bottlenose dolphin was already dead when it was found

🔴 An Assembly committee will hold a hearing on marine mammal deaths May 18

After a three-week break, another dolphin was found stranded on a Jersey Shore beach Saturday.

The Marine Mammal Stranding Center reported on its website a sub-adult female bottlenose dolphin was found dead in Stone Harbor on Saturday. The carcass was brought to the New Jersey Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory in Ewing for a necropsy to determine a cause of death.

It is the 29th dolphin found on a New Jersey beach since December, according to MMSC records. The last dolphins were found on April 14 in Great Bay and April 15. The last whale was a badly decomposed pygmy sperm whale on March 24 in Ocean City.

29 dolphins have been found stranded on New Jersey beaches since December
29 dolphins have been found stranded on New Jersey beaches since December (Canva)

Strandings slow, hearings continue

During the break between strandings, the debate continued over the reason for the increase

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J 6th District, and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., hosted a forum on April 24 that blamed climate change and shipping traffic for the deaths.

Pallone noted as water temperatures rise, fish that whales eat have been moving into different areas, bringing whales more frequently into the path of heavily traveled shipping lanes off the East Coast.

They also support legislation that would ban oil and gas drilling off the New Jersey coastline.

Republican state legislators held an independent hearing at the Statehouse to continue their push for a pause to windfarm activity.

“A 600% increase in whale strandings cannot be ignored. There are many unanswered questions and we need to demand an immediate, independent and thorough investigation into what is causing these deaths," marine conservation biologist Trisha DeVoe said at the hearing.

Three federal agencies and Gov. Phil Murphy have rejected that suggestion, and several environmental groups have banded together to form the New Jersey Wind Works Coalition, insisting questions about the wind farm work are part of an anti-environment campaign bankrolled by oil corporations.

The Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee has scheduled a "science based" hearing for May 18 to discuss the marine mammal deaths in an effort to "help lawmakers and the public understand the issue from a fact-based perspective."

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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