The whale carcass at Patches Beach is 17m long and weights 54 tonne.
The whale carcass at Patches Beach is 17m long and weights 54 tonne.

ORRCA: Stay away from the 54,000Kg whale carcass

NORTHERN Rivers residents have been warned to remain clear of the area where a 17-metre whale died at Patches Beach in South Ballina yesterday.

This is due to safety concerns.

Far North Coast Surf Lifesaving confirmed yesterday it was monitoring the situation.

"(They were) currently monitoring the situation of deceased whale being washed up on Patches Beach, South Ballina. All public are requested to remain clear of the area and not enter the water in surrounding locations," the organisation said.

DPI Fisheries' advise online confirmed a tagged white shark was detected by Sharpes Beach, Ballina, at 12:06pm today. 

Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA)'s vice-president Jools Farrell said it was an adult sperm whale, weighing 54 tonne and measuring 17m in length.

"ORRCA, National Parks, Crown Land and council personnel have started trying to remove the whale from its location in the shallow waters, but so far they have been unable to remove it, and they may need to try to attempt it again tomorrow Sunday," she said.

Mrs Farrell said it is very important that people refrain from trying to access the area.

"It is a 4WD access-only area, but most importantly it is dangerous for people to try to get close to the carcass," she said.

"Whales are protected by law even when deceased. Anyone trying to get close for a photo or some kind of souvenir, could face heavy fines.

"Also, anyone getting in the shallows would be putting their lives in danger, as the current could move the carcass, and at 54 tonne (54,000Kg), it could kill anyone, that's why the removal process has to be done very carefully.

 

The whale carcass at Patches Beach is 17m long and weights 54 tonne.
The whale carcass at Patches Beach is 17m long and weights 54 tonne.

 

In regards to the animal's cause of death, the ORRCA vice-president said the organisation was hoping to find out more information soon.

"Samples will be taken for examination, but since it was an adult, it could have been an old whale, hopefully we will get more info soon," she said.

The location of the carcass has been confirmed to be in Crown Land, and within the Ballina Shire, after the site was originally visited by the Richmond Valley Council staff.

Anyone that sees a whale, dolphin, seal or dugong in need of rescue was advised to call ORRCA on their 24/7 number 02 9415 3333.

A Ballina Shire Council spokeswoman said the issue is being managed by Crown Land and National Parks, but council was ready to offer assistance if required.

In 2017, the carcass of a juvenile humpback whale was removed from South Ballina beach by council.

Crown Land and Department of Fisheries and were contacted for comment.



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