Port Macquarie whale to be exhumed
A day after a dead humpback whale was buried on Nobby's Beach, Port Macquarie, the local council has now decided to dig it up and remove it.
The about face is a result of an urgent meeting held last night. Speaking at the meeting was owner of Soul Surfing surf school and Swellnet's Port Macquarie reporter, Corey Enfield.
"It was a very constructive and positive meeting," said Corey. "We were able to present the communities feelings and desires to have the whale removed."
"All councillors seemed content that the best way forward is to quickly find the best solution to remove the animal."
The council initially chose to bury the whale following advice from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Port Macquarie Marine Rescue. The dead whale was caught amongst rocks so couldn't be dragged out to sea without it breaking up - at any rate it would've simply washed up again somewhere else - while vehicles can't acess Nobby's Beach making removal difficult.
Geoff Shelton from Port Macquarie Marine Rescue said there was “no option” but to bury the beast. “Time was the biggest problem,” said Shelton.
The obvious concern for surfers is the whale’s decomposing flesh leaching into the ocean and attracting more sharks, though Shelton claims the science is still uncertain. “Unfortunately there is just not enough research done into this,” said Shelton.
However, Associate Professor Ian Goodwin has witnessed the result of burying whales and thinks it's a reckless practice. In 1992 he was in Tasmania when a group of pilot whales beached themselves and were subsequently buried. "The groundwater discharge attracted so many sharks the local fishermen wouldn't go out, said Prof. Goodwin, adding that whale burials breach a council's duty of care.
"There will be a shark attack and the victim will scramble to sue council."
Fortunately Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has listened to surfers and resolved to remove the carcass. The only question at this point is how.
"We're hoping to have a clear pathway towards its removal by the end of the day, or at least tomorrow," says Corey Enfield.
"It ain't going to be pretty but will be a relief once it's done."