AVON, N.C. (WRIC) — With whale watching season just around the corner, this is one sight visitors would not have been expecting on their family trip to the Outer Banks.

A young, dead humpback whale washed up on an Outer Banks beach Monday, Dec. 5, according to ABC13.

The whale, found in Avon, was recorded at around 34 feet and had fishing gear wrapped around its tail. ABC13 said the fishing gear is planned to be sent to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement (NOAA) to try and figure out where it came from.

Dead humpback whale washes up on Avon, N.C. beach
Dead humpback whale washes up on Avon, N.C. beach (Photo: Cape Hatteras National Seashore)

While rare, NOAA does keep a record of “unusual” humpback whale deaths along the Atlantic Coast by state. Virginia and North Carolina both had one recorded death in 2022. Of the whales recorded and examined, 50% were found to have evidence of human interaction, either ship strike or entanglement, NOAA said.

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Jennette’s Pier, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Bonehenge Whale Center, UNC at Wilmington and the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries all teamed up to respond to the stranding, ABC13 reported.

If you see a live stranded whale or a dead whale that has washed ashore, you can report it by contacting the Coast Guard, or by calling the Greater Atlantic Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline at 866-755-6622.