In late September a 700-lb, short-finned pilot whale was discovered dead in Allenhurst, New Jersey (as the AP notes, they are part of the dolphin family). According to NJ.com, a necropsy determined that the whale had been shot. With a bullet. In the jaw. The injury made it unable for him to eat, and eventually he was found dead from starvation, and with a "massive infection."
Officials say the shooting may have happened far away from New Jersey, and this is the first murdered whale to be discovered in the Garden State—Bob Schoelkopf, the founding director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, says, “No other bullet has been found in a whale in New Jersey.”
Scott Doyle, an assistant special agent for NOAA, investigates several shootings of dolphins and seals each year, but hasn't been part of a whale murder investigation in all his 25 years. He is hoping someone steps forward that witnessed the shooting, and in the meantime, the bullet was sent for ballistics testing to a federal lab. The 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits marine life from being “harassed, hunted, captured, killed or collected”—violations can result in penalties of up to $100,000, on top of a year behind bars.
According to The Internet, some people do like to dine on short-finned pilot whales—"When grilled, the meat is slightly flaky and quite flavorful, somewhat gamey, though similar to a quality cut of beef but with distinct yet subtle undertones recalling its marine origin."