Whales in New York Harbor - FOX 13 News

Whales in New York Harbor

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Photo by Artie Raslich Photo by Artie Raslich
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

The waters around New York City are a lot more crowded these days with sea life. Whale watchers are getting an eyeful. Artie Raslich snapped a whale of a photograph last September.

"I mean, 60 feet of the ocean in a huge circle just goes white," he says. "For an hour, off in the distance, it just was lunging and feeding and fish were flying out of its mouth."

His catch landed him an invite to set out to sea with the crew at Gotham Whale.

"We identify the number of animals that we saw and what species it is," says Paul Siswerda. He has spent 40 years at aquariums in Boston and Coney Island where he specialized in beached whales before cataloging healthier specimens as Gotham Whale's director.

"The captain always likes to say: 'New York City is becoming the new Cape Cod,'" he says.

From the deck of the American Princess, Gotham Whale counted just five whales in 2011. This summer, they've already seen 49 and the season is not yet halfway over.

"The water quality is much improved over the years," Siswerda says.

Cleaner water and fishing restrictions likely led to healthier algae, fed upon by larger schools of bait fish, fed upon by the humpback whales counted by Siswerda and photographed by Raslich.

"I'll take 500 shots and I maybe will get 40 that are good," Raslich says.

Meanwhile, the largest city in the nation rises in the distance. It is largely oblivious to the existence of the beasts splashing in its surrounding waters.

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