Why Are Gray Whales Washing Up Dead Along San Francisco Coast?

by on May 14, 2019 · 2 comments

in California, Environment

Dead whale found along Sunset Cliffs, mid-Nov., 2011.

By Peter Fimrite / San Francisco Chronicle / May 11, 2019 Updated: May 13, 2019 

Exhausted, emaciated gray whales are going belly up along the coast of San Francisco this year at a rate seen only once — during a two-year period 20 years ago — since whaling was banned and the leviathans were pulled from the brink of extinction.

The death toll, part of a disturbing mass die-off from Mexico to Alaska, is happening largely because there is too little food in the ecosystem to sustain the behemoths on one of the world’s longest migrations, experts say.

The hulking carcasses of nine gray whales, several of them starving, have been found since March in San Francisco Bay and along the coast from Pacifica to Point Reyes. That’s an unusually large number for the region.

“It’s definitely not normal,” said Mary Jane Schramm, spokeswoman for the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, which has for decades been monitoring the spectacular whale migrations along the San Mateo, San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma county coasts.

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sealintheSelkirks May 14, 2019 at 9:24 pm

40% of the phytoplankton have died off. Zooplankton, too of course. Oceans are going acidic from CO2 loading in the atmosphere along with being completely over-fished to the point where they are dragging miles-wide nets across the ocean floor catching everything living and throwing most of the ‘catch’ overboard dead, and then don’t forget to add in pollution and toxic waste and giant plastic garbage patches and…whatever else you who are reading these words can think up for yourself.

All that ‘whale food’ isn’t there anymore. Can we say Opps?

>Meteorologist Eric Holthaus, a journalist who covers the climate crisis for Grist, contextualized the latest readings in a tweet that was shared widely on Sunday:

This is the first time in human history our planet’s atmosphere has had more than 415ppm CO2.

NOTE: The highest temperatures of the last 1 MILLION YEARS has been 280ppm. Weren’t the whales around then but we weren’t? Yeah, well, so much for the Gray Whales, eh?

And on land we have:

Decline in global populations over the past decade, according to Biological Conservation:

Butterflies: 53%
Beetles: 49%
Bees: 46%
Dragonflies: 37%
Flies: 25%

You can look up the statistics on birds but I’ll tell you now it isn’t any better.

If you’re not feeling at least a little apprehensive, you either aren’t paying much attention or you watch too much corporate television!



Frank Gormlie May 15, 2019 at 12:36 pm

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