NOAA Fisheries is asking its fishermen to catch more fish in the waters off the coast of North Carolina.
The agency is launching a fish census in the wake of a dramatic surge in the numbers of humpback whales in the area, which has been declared “contaminated” by human-caused warming.
A survey will be conducted to determine the extent to which human activity is contributing to this increase in whale sightings, the agency said in a news release.
Humpback whales have been documented in North Carolina since the 1970s, but it has only been in recent years that their numbers have skyrocketed.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are now more than 200 humpback whale species in North America.
The species is native to the Gulf of Mexico and other waters in the Pacific.
In recent years, the whales have become a source of concern due to the high incidence of whale attacks.
The U.N. says that in 2016 alone, nearly 500 humpback attacks were reported in North Carolinas.
The NOAA Fisheries Census will take place between October 27 and December 7, and will be open to all U.s. fishermen, including commercial, recreational, and private fishermen.
The survey will cover a large portion of the North Carolina coast.
The agency also encourages fishermen to report their sightings to NOAA Fisheries via the online whale sighting database at http://www.ncclcrf.noaa.gov/whale.
A sampling of the information collected will be provided to NOAA’s whale-watching partners.