Distressed Whale spotted near offshore wind survey vessel – Jim Lovgren

Monday morning, March 20 th , Bill Lovgren, the owner and Captain of the 72 foot trawler, Holdfast, left the Fisherman’s Dock Co-op shortly after 9 am for an offshore trip targeting Black Sea Bass and Summer Flounder with his two crewmen, James Lovgren, and Paul Kuchinski. Between them they have over seventy-five years of fishing experience from the port. This particular trip was unusual because the vessels fishing offshore generally leave port sometimes during the night due to having a 60- mile distance to travel to get to the grounds by daylight. Bill had to delay his departure Sunday night due to concerns of an oil leak in his generator. First thing Monday morning with the assurance from his mechanic that it wasn’t a critical problem, they threw off the lines and headed offshore.

The eight-to-nine-hour trip to the fishing grounds near the Hudson Canyon would involve each fisherman taking a wheel watch, while the other two tried to sleep. As Captain, Bill gets to decide who takes which watch, and he decided to take the first watch, which being closest to shore, involves keeping a close eye out for vessel traffic, since they traverse through multiple shipping lanes with heavy traffic, including tankers, freighters, and tugs with barges. Towards the end of his watch, around 11:30 a.m., his eye caught splashing on the surface of the water over a mile away, a little north of his course, so he steered closer to get a better view. As the Holdfast got nearer he could see that it was a Whale desperately thrashing about on the surface, slapping its tail, and even rolling over at one point. It seemed to him that the whale had surfaced and couldn’t submerge itself, like it was trying to get out of the water. As he drew closer he took video of the hapless mammal as it frantically swam south, knowing that the Whale was probably fleeing from the noise being created by the offshore wind research vessel, the Go Discovery, who was less than two miles away from them.

Siting Whales is a fairly common occurrence for commercial vessels, but it still draws fishermen to watch these majestic animals as they go about their peaceful existence. This time of the year, thousands of Whales and Dolphins are migrating to northern grounds for the summer, and the Holdfast had just passed a juvenile Fin Whale only a few miles off, after leaving the Manasquan inlet. Bill knew the Whale he was watching near the Go Discovery was not acting in any way he had ever observed in his 30+ years of fishing and was aware of the controversial issue of research vessels and the recent Whale strandings. Here was possible evidence of a Whales reaction to either the sonar or seismic equipment the Go Discovery was using, as the whale was making a frantic beeline away from the Go Discovery. The Holdfast continued on its course, southeast towards the offshore grounds and Bill kept track of the animal for a good twenty minutes before it was no longer in sight, behind him. He noted that the Go Discovery seemed to have spotted the Whale and turned away from it. He took pictures of his AIS screen to note the location of both vessels, and time. The location is shown on the screen in Loran C numbers.

On the offshore fishing grounds, dozens of commercial fishing boats were out taking advantage of a welcome break in the winters bad weather, with most of the boats around the Hudson Canyon area seeking, Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass. The surface of the water was teeming with Dolphins, many of which charge the boats when they haul their gear back to get an easy meal. Pilot Whales are especially abundant this time of year, and have been observed changing direction and swimming towards commercial boats the minute they hear the boat slow down and put their power take-off in gear. The change in the sound from the engine, and the PTO is like ringing the dinner bell to pilot whales who sometimes come right up to the boat as the cod end is being brought on board and stick their heads out of the water to observe the boat and crew, while looking for any fish that slip through the nets mesh. Crewman James Lovgren noted that many times this trip they had over fifty dolphins swimming near the boat during haul-backs. Less then fifteen miles from the Hudson grounds, the research vessel Go Explorer was busy surveying in the Texas Tower area where they had been working recently. Few vessels bother trying to fish near them as according to Captain Lovgren, you can’t catch a fish within four miles of these vessels when they are working, the noise scares them away.

The observation of the Whale by the Holdfast is uncommon in that most commercial vessels working offshore do their traversing during the night, as that is when fishing is slowest, so they cannot see any surface activity unless there is a bright moon in the sky. The actions of the Whale, believed to be a Humpback, fit into what the government would call Level two harassment, which includes noticeable reactions by the animal, that may lead to serious injury, but not death. That would be Level One harassment. The Whales behavior is a not a feeding pattern or style, Humpback Whales eat only during the four months when they are feasting in the cold artic waters during the summer time. The rest of the year they live on their fat reserves which they count on to allow them to migrate thousands of miles using those fat reserves. Forced changes in the migratory path of whales results in a loss of essential fat reserves, and are known to cause miscarriages, starvation, and loss of young calves.

The slapping of the Whales Tail is a loud warning to other whales of danger and can be heard underwater for miles. The day after the video was taken, eight Dolphins beached themselves at Sea Isle New Jersey, and died or were euthanized. A number of offshore wind vessels were surveying within twenty miles of the shore adjacent to the stranding area. The government and its apologists have adamantly denied any connections of the wind survey work with the recent spate of marine mammal strandings, they are now going to try to blame the deaths on avian bird flu. Maybe Anthony Fauci can help them with their propaganda campaign.

A footnote! Bill Lovgren took a short video of the whale on his cell phone, and we’re having an issue bringing it here, for now. The image was taken from the video. Borehead

14 Responses to Distressed Whale spotted near offshore wind survey vessel – Jim Lovgren

  1. Ian Glennen says:

    Thanks !!

  2. Bob says:

    The Lovgrens are a very reliable source.
    Pay attention flat landers.

  3. Rose Willis says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Great article.

  4. connembo says:

    Capt Lovgren, Thank you for sharing your personal experience with this distressed whale and the environment you witnessed. Your knowledge of the ocean & the marine mammals tells a much better story than what we are hearing from those called “Clean Energy”specialist.

  5. Gary Caputi says:

    The Lovgrens know the sea and its creatures like few others and have always been reliable sources of information. Jim did many years on the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council and is a serious conservationist.

  6. Sylvia says:

    Thank you for this. Heartbreaking. Maybe it will inspire people to take action.

  7. Rich says:

    Thank you Captain, I sure hope this video becomes available and goes viral!

  8. Alison Shumway says:

    Thank you for sharing Captain, your words and observations hold much weight and will hopefully help in bringing awareness to this issue.

  9. Annette Caamano says:

    The last line of your article was totally unnecessary.

  10. Mary says:

    Try uploading the video to Vimeo and then link it in the article.

  11. Sarah says:

    Could have written this article without the comment in the last sentence

  12. james R Lovgren says:

    It has been pointed out to me by a couple of knowledgeable friends that the Atlantic Humpback Whale does feed during its northern migration back to the Arctic. The information I obtained did not differentiate between Pacific Humpbacks [who only eat during the 4 month summer season]], and the Atlantic Humpback, that does. This is important information, but it does not detract from the fact that watching the animal for 20 minutes, it was clearly fleeing in distress. To those offended by the last sentence, you must not be paying attention to the actual facts in regard to the lying propaganda americans have been subjected too the last few years concerning covid.

    • Kevin F. Mckeon says:

      Well said Capt, Very sad i’ve been fishing our beautiful canyons for 30 years the hudson is our back for many south shore recreational offshore sportsman so much for dropping the lines in at the tower. Solar power is much more efficient cheaper and cleaner not to mention free energy this is all about greed and money…. Stay safe out there Capt and thank you for the read

    • muddog says:

      (T)ruth (R)eally (U)psets (M)ost (P)eople

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