Hundreds Of Whales Spotted Off NYC Shores, Indicating Cleaner Waters

It's tremendous news for environmentalists.

Hundreds of whales have been spotted off the coast of New York recently, a staggering number that seemed nearly impossible just a decade ago.

The increase in whale sightings is a sign legislation like the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act is working, the founder of Gotham Whale told Patch.com. In 2010, Gotham Whale tracked just five whale sightings all year. Last year, the number was 272.

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That huge jump is a testament to how clean the Hudson River is and how it's impacting the ocean water around it. As a result, the river is attracting algae, which brings in Menhaden fish, which are a popular snack for humpback whales.

"So the Hudson River, instead of bringing out pollution to the areas we see whales – the lower estuary and the area right outside the mouth of the Hudson – it's bringing nutrients," Paul Sieswerda, who works at Gotham Whale, told Patch.

Pew Charitable Trust's Mid-Atlantic Conservation Project says Menhaden are the most important fish in the sea because of how many species eat them for food. If New Yorkers want to see the whales, they can. Gotham Whale is keeping its relationship with American Princess Cruises alive this year, and New Yorkers can go on a whale watching cruises until November. 

"The sheer size alone is incredible," Sieswerda told Patch. "They're like buses, and to think that's a living animal and to think that is has the power and grace to completely jump out of the water when they breach is a spectacle that I think is unique to the animal kingdom."

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