Due To Cleaner Waters, New York Is Seeing More Sharks And Whales Than Ever Before
New York waters are now so clean that humpback whales and great white sharks have found a replacement for New England as their go-to place for feeding season.
Populations of both animals have been on the rise over the past few years, mostly because of the gradual elimination of horrific pollution, the Guardian reports.
They usually head north for the summer feeding season, but the newly-clean water in New York means more food supplies, prompting both humpbacks and great whites to stay put.
Wildlife tracking group Gotham Whale counted 29 humpback whales in New York from the start of spring to the end of July. That's more than usual, compared to the last few years.
Whales and great whites are still most common off the coasts of Massachusetts and Maine over the summer, but neither region has seen an increase like new York.
Joe Sieswerda, the head of the volunteer organization, told the Guardian that this is mainly due to the ongoing cleanup of the Hudson River, resulting in an increase in sea nutrients eaten by plankton.
The river used to bring nothing but pollution but in the last five years or so there is cleaner water, more nutrients and less garbage. My boat captain says New York is the new Cape Cod.
Humpback whales are now regularly seen coming up for air over the Hudson River.
Gotham Whale's most recent research shows great whites increasing nearly 10 times following decades of decline, often attributed to a trend in shark hunting that emerged shortly after Steven Spielberg's 1957 film "Jaws."
Three great whites were caught off Long Island in one week last June, and sightings off New Jersey have reportedly increased as well.
Swimmers and surfers aren't in any real danger just yet, however, as the sharks so far come no closer than a mile from the beach.
There have been three fatal great white attacks between 2006 and 2013.
Sieswerda noted that New York waters have also seen a huge increase in harbor seals.
Compared to 10 spotted in 2006, 66 have been sighted this year.