Work starts to remove whale carcass from local beach
PREPARATIONS have started to remove a 17m Sperm whale carcass from Patches Beach in Ballina, after the marine mammal died in shallow waters on Friday afternoon.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) - Crown Lands is working on arrangements to have the whale carcass removed from the beach and taken to landfill, a spokeswoman from DPIE said.
"The whale is a male sperm whale, 16.9 metres in length and weighing up to 60 tonnes," she said.
"Arranging suitable equipment for such a large whale in a remote area is difficult, but the department is working closely with staff on the ground to have the carcass removed as quickly as possible."
The representative from DPIE said these situations are managed on a case-by-case basis as a number of factors need to be taken into account.
"Crown Lands has sought advice from relevant agencies, including NSW National Park and Wildlife Service and Soil Conservation Service in Ballina," she added.
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 via social media.
Earlier, a shark sighting halted this morning's proceedings at heat two of the Tweed Coast Pro at Cabarita Beach, 70Km north of Ballina.
DPI Fisheries' advise online confirmed a tagged white shark was detected at Sharpes Beach, at 12:06pm Saturday, and then at 5.28pm and 5.40pm at Lighthouse Beach.
Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA)'s vice-president Jools Farrell called yesterday for residents and visitors to stay away from the area.
"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."
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.