Port Macquarie whale to be exhumed

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

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."

Comments

daisy duke kahanamoku's picture
daisy duke kahanamoku's picture
daisy duke kaha... commented Thursday, 21 Sep 2017 at 12:22pm

Bet the council shovel benders didn't vote for that.

lukas's picture
lukas's picture
lukas commented Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 at 5:47pm

daisy duke kaha, sounds like another, fake name, made up from the baker's dozen.... doin another doozy................. hey herc

hynz

Simon Hayward's picture
Simon Hayward's picture
Simon Hayward commented Thursday, 21 Sep 2017 at 12:57pm

Thank Fuck!! I'm camping with the kids at Pt Plomer for a week from Saturday and was a bit spooked. That said, the Noahs will still be hanging around for a while to come I'm guessing?

I still cant quite believe how a council would think its ok to bury the main food source for adult White Pointers at a busy town beach next to a river???

dfinnecy's picture
dfinnecy's picture
dfinnecy commented Thursday, 21 Sep 2017 at 2:30pm

Nice one Corey!

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Thursday, 21 Sep 2017 at 2:55pm

Good move by the local community for the local and visiting surfers / ocean user's. Great team work provides a great result !

uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy commented Thursday, 21 Sep 2017 at 3:23pm

Nice work in getting it removed. Can't believe they took the easy option out and buried, there is even a carpark 250m away from where it was buried, yes it is a crane lift up from the beach to the back of a truck, but certainly do able and easy compared to some of the ones that have been removed from the beaches in WA.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 21 Sep 2017 at 4:15pm

Imagine the rate payers money wasted on this, first it's buried and now its going to be cartered away.

They could at least allow the public to take what they want I'm sure there is crazy people who would chop it up for dog food, or crazy locals who would want the bones, then if there is anything left they could then get rid of it.

Or it could have been towed out to sea and across the river and beached in that remotes area,(from memory is it point plommer?) then just let it decay naturally like nature intended.

Ada gula, ada semut!

rihale's picture
rihale's picture
rihale commented Thursday, 21 Sep 2017 at 4:27pm

What did they do with the one (or 2) washed into Angourie?

surfingwombat's picture
surfingwombat's picture
surfingwombat commented Friday, 22 Sep 2017 at 7:38am

As far as I know its still there on the beach. I saw it there on sunday. Hopefully the local council feels pressured to dispose of it (not bury it)

chook's picture
chook's picture
chook commented Friday, 22 Sep 2017 at 2:57pm

The whale was still there on angourie back beach when I went out this morning. Had the place to myself.

Simon Hayward's picture
Simon Hayward's picture
Simon Hayward commented Thursday, 21 Sep 2017 at 4:37pm

Indo, there are not really any remote areas around Port Macquarie to let a dead whale decompose without it being a danger to surfers and other ocean going folk. Its massively irresponsible for councils to think this is ok, I wonder how many whales have been secretly buried over the past few years by councils looking for an easy, cost effective solution? Would be great to see some stats on dead whales that have washed up on the NSW coast and how they were dealt with.?

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 23 Sep 2017 at 3:29pm

What about across the river up towards Point Plomer? Just had a look on google earth still looks untouched and remote-ish to me.

Ada gula, ada semut!

many-rivers's picture
many-rivers's picture
many-rivers commented Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 at 9:57am

national parks should look untouched and remote , well not really, there could be 40+ surfers out at the northern end for the next two weeks conditions being ok, we are moving into a time when there are frequent northerlies and this section of beaches will be crowded from now till Feb next year.

Corey Enfield's picture
Corey Enfield's picture
Corey Enfield commented Thursday, 21 Sep 2017 at 4:50pm

Council operation will begin on Monday to exhume the whale. The area will be off limits while it takes place.

Beaches will re open on Saturday with drone surveillance across Town and Flynns Beach, not sure about Lighthouse Beach though.

It was mentioned to me that the DPI has indicated that the shark activity in the area is no different to normal. This seems at odds with bouy readings.

Hopefully the public will feel safe enough to return to their normal activities when beaches open.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Saturday, 23 Sep 2017 at 3:25pm

Monday's​ too late. The Council should have never buried the whale . High Risk surfing at that beach for a little while.

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam commented Thursday, 21 Sep 2017 at 5:09pm

Naturally occurring in nature ,
Whale dies, ends up on beach !
Its actually not that outrageous , that the council decision was not special .
At least the beach isn't destroyed by an oil spill , that would be far worse .

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Thursday, 21 Sep 2017 at 9:38pm

Gotta be next Australia Day cross ditch Ad teaser...That's not a Hangi bro ! "This is a Hangi ".

Great divide runs whole coastline...2/3's of water runs seaward neath the continent.
Deeper you dig the more amplified your Whale oil run off.

East coast whale graveyard also runs length of coastline and is fast encroaching suburbia.
Councils can't incinerate the giant water beings as putrid gases are health concern.

Eyes of the World wish we would transport Whales at least as humanely as Jap whalers.
Australia has no Whale Sling,hoist,barge,slipway,winch,trailer nor insulated shower truck.
Many nations are gifted for Whale task. We show commitment but lack equipment.

Green solution: Buy 2nd hand Jap Whaler and pimp it out as Thunderbird 2 Whale Rescue.
Only because world has tasked Aussies to piss off the Jap Whalers.

Next we recycle all losing teams grand final banners into Whale size Slings.
Bundle the wasted NBN cable and tow the Whale free of kids beaches then shipping lanes.
Weigh it down with a Tonne of Soggy Equal Marriage Ballots.

New whale reef draws Great White Sharks away from coastline to Deep sea buffet.
Feeding times last around 3 weeks. Whale carcass invites complete array of OZ megafauna.
This in turn attracts International Dive tours to score all OZ wonders in one dive. Win! Win !

Cheaper option: Hotline Pro Whale surfer Harrison to surf whale into a Great White frenzy.
Problem with that is, even though he doesn't bank here we still have to rescue him.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Friday, 22 Sep 2017 at 11:01am

“Unfortunately there is just not enough research done into this,” said Shelton.

Oh FFS, if you bury a whale on a beach it is going to leach whale into the ocean surrounding, and sharks are going to be attracted to it.

There, research done! Fuck me, sometimes the 'do nothing we don't have the research' brigade shit me to tears. If we don't have conclusive research, try Ockham's Razor.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 at 8:14am

Ha ha i agree 100%

Ada gula, ada semut!

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Friday, 22 Sep 2017 at 7:56pm

Yep, common sense and logic is not enough to make decisions or to know something anymore. Must research,research,research, analyse data as thinking is dangerous. Various agendas at work, including pitching for more research money, avoiding the obvious that does not suit the meme that GWs are essentailly misunderstood friendly critters but also plain gutlessness to make call unprotected by a wall of data.

Frogg

Distracted's picture
Distracted's picture
Distracted commented Friday, 22 Sep 2017 at 9:37pm

The buried dead whale attracting shark theory is probably right, but the port Macquarie shark buoy that had been going off the day the whale washed up, has not registered any great whites since it was buried. Doesn't mean there aren't untagged sharks still in the area but how long would a shark hang around one spot when there are other whales / food sources in the area?

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Saturday, 23 Sep 2017 at 7:11am

True story from a book i read. About 80 years ago a dead dolphin washed up on a quiet little estuarine beach not known then or since for fish life or sharks. It slowly started to decompose in the sun and a trickle of oil and juice made its way to the ocean. A few days later the whole bay was full of fins and sharks were launching themselves out of the water up towards the dolphin on dry beach to rty to get at the tasty meal. The locals started wacking the sharks on the head with clubs as they thrashed about on the sand. They killed a heap and still the bay was full of sharks swimming around hoping for a meal.
Clearly, as shark cage diving businesses know:
Scent carries a long way
It takes a while for decomposition to occur and scents to leak out into a trail
Sharks follow scent trails in from great distances
They get excited and aggressive with hungry bellies if food seems to be near

One anecdote like tells us all we need to know about cause and effect with whale burial near the ocean.

Frogg

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 23 Sep 2017 at 2:42pm

21 White Pointer " movements " detected off the same Port Macquarie beach yesterday.

But no accepted connection between dead whales and sharks.

https://youtu.be/ueGn7T2Io3E

In other news , scientists have announced that there is still no proven correlation between people that like meat pies and the demographic that frequents bakeries.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 at 12:18am

Your right Blowin! Ask the bakery for a Flake Pie! They just stare at ya!

lukas's picture
lukas's picture
lukas commented Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 at 4:37pm

can i have a stu pie please, any type, meatless, lots of gravy, tasteless, & not very filling/feeling. burp,..... i'm goin ta get very hungry , around this bakery.

hynz

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 at 12:32am

What's the latest?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 at 7:23am

Removal starts tomorrow. Local surfers gotta hope the clay dumped in the hole has stopped or slowed the groundwater discharge from the decomposing whale.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 at 7:40am

This is a exercise for the Aust Army and a large Chopper to pic up the carcass pieces and dump them 20 miles out at sea.

Dean Mc's picture
Dean Mc's picture
Dean Mc commented Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 at 6:10am

I did here a 5 metre white pointer was hooked up on drumline at Tuncurry a week ago. The next few years could get real ugly if the whale numbers keep increasing, Whaling should eventually be the answer, as it was in the past.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 at 10:40am

Powerful precedent set there. Once a council reverses a decision on whale burial under pressure it becomes much harder to take the burial option for others. It is a clear acknowledgement of risk. The ripple effects should flow on to other councils who have taken the safety in numbers (everyone else does it) concept as their stamp of approval.

Whale burial risks are partly linked to increasing GW numbers. 30 years ago, hidden from view, GW would have cruised into investigate whale oil leaching out to sea in small numbers. But if that influx is in much greater numbers, you may have 30 or 40 sharks cruising around with empty bellies.

Another true story from a history book. In Port Davey Tasmania, a long time ago, a fleece off a dead sheep was placed on the rocks just above the water line to dry in the sun. The fat off the fleece dripped down into the ocean and after a few days sharks were launching themselves up out of the water up the rock shelf to try to grab the fleece. That is not calm, cruise by, cautiously type behaviour. I would not want to be anywhere near sharks in that mode - hungry, stimulated, competitive.... in that state they will go anything.

Scientist may in ten years have a some data from their research that plots x% increase in aggregate visitations by tagged sharks to areas near whale burials creating y% potential increase in shark / human "interaction" with some clever graphics. But that will totally underestimate the risk level at certain times when a burley trail has drawn in a large group of frustrated GWs.

Frogg

Distracted's picture
Distracted's picture
Distracted commented Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 at 3:42pm

Blowin, where do you see the 21 shark movements off Port Mac? Couldn't see any on the SharkSmart app. Crescent looks pretty lively with them though.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 at 4:24pm

Pretty sure I read it on the Sydney Morning Herald website.

Note they said 21 movements . Does that mean 21 seperate sharks or the same shark 21 times or......

Eyewitness accounts of these " movements ".

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 at 4:26pm

Here you go .

My mistake , the movements were over several days.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/north-coast-beaches-open-despite-decomposing-w...

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 at 6:49pm

'Flake News'

Arf, arf

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 at 7:06pm

Oh my gawd...

lukas's picture
lukas's picture
lukas commented Sunday, 24 Sep 2017 at 7:34pm

chomp chomp stu, that's the best ya can do, just as we all expected.

hynz

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 25 Sep 2017 at 11:11am

Are you erasing Cain now , Stu ?

I thought the East coast threads were out of his jurisdiction.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 25 Sep 2017 at 10:54am

Nah, looks like he's the one having second thoughts, fortunately for all of us. And he's definitely his own man, so to speak.

uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy commented Monday, 25 Sep 2017 at 8:03am

Time to get the bream rod and mullet gut ready for this afternoon

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Monday, 25 Sep 2017 at 10:51am

Port Mac' School Kidz Spring Break.
Day 1 Activities...
(Sunrise Crew): Lock up your kidz Media Circus
(Big Lunch Masterchef class): World Record Longest Chip/Most seagulls + WR Whale Hangi.
(Afternoon Delight): Kidz don't lose Gran for Big Mac whale size Chainsaw Massacre.
(Main Event) SEE : Monster of the deep v Monster Trucks Spectacular
(Dinner Bell) Sharks Synchronized Swim Troupe concludes festivities. (No skinny dipping)

SEE: Pop up educational installation!
Life-cycle of a Gentle Giant.... From Kodak trail to Tip.

Evening Ceremonies:
Greenpeace begrudgingly hurls Oceancare Award at Table of Honour Jap' Whalers.
Sign: P.M. petition to prevent Jap' Whalers hauling us before IWC for macabre Whale abuse.

Happy Holidays N.S.W./ Sorry 'bout tough gig Port Macquarie ....Big effort deserves a nod!
In a fair world, we should all lend a hand. Knowing we're equally to blame just less shamed.
Any Oz coastline town yet to bury one to a dozen whales speak now! Share your secret?

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Monday, 25 Sep 2017 at 12:02pm

Port Macquarie News Sept 25 2017 ...11:30 am. (Must see open informative video interview .)
"Buried whale sees light of day with removal of the carcass underway at Nobby's Beach".

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 25 Sep 2017 at 12:11pm

I was driving on a long beach somewhere near here a few years ago when we found a baby Sperm whale lying on the beach . Still alive.

It was leaking out of its eyes , not sure if it was tears or actual brine just running out but it was sad as fuck.

No one else around then we spy a bulldozer trucking up the beach towards us in the distance.

Euthanised and buried in situ.

I've never seen anyone else surfing in this spot - not in the middle of the beach anyway - but there was a backpacker camped not far away from the burial site a while later that disappeared.

Small , calm seas. He'd been swimming off and on all day. His mates went back to the camp and he had one more dip and was never seen again.

I was watching the search for his body the next day. Dropping dye from choppers to simulate the currents etc. large scale search , no body recovered.

Coincidence ?

You're a smart man, you do the maths ......

Hint - I reckon he was eaten.

alexhoch1's picture
alexhoch1's picture
alexhoch1 commented Monday, 25 Sep 2017 at 1:12pm

Follow the Red White and Blues lead and blow it up (see 1970 YouTube video) ....I'm sure Donald would approve. School Holiday spectacle. Oh, say! can you see by the dawn's early night

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 25 Sep 2017 at 1:46pm

Being loaded into mini skips and craned up i guess there will be hundreds of litres of oily liquid left in the hole.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Tuesday, 26 Sep 2017 at 6:46pm

Give'm hell ... Big Mac' {R.I.P.}
udo! About that whale juice ....Local Tip runs off into back creek feeding river mouth to sea.
Next big storm Big Mac thickshake for all... ( I'M BACK )

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Tuesday, 26 Sep 2017 at 7:10pm

The remaining liquid was to be pumped into 1000 ltr containers craned up and put through the waste treatment plant.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Tuesday, 26 Sep 2017 at 6:55pm
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Wednesday, 27 Sep 2017 at 12:14am

Headland plaque #/ Beach quarry Cross +/ Tip service $/ Sewerage Plant wake! [RIP] Big Mac'

Saaarfing's picture
Saaarfing's picture
Saaarfing commented Wednesday, 27 Sep 2017 at 7:49am
Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Wednesday, 27 Sep 2017 at 7:57am

On the bury program as well, hopefully the community can step in and stop this as well.

Gaz1799's picture
Gaz1799's picture
Gaz1799 commented Wednesday, 27 Sep 2017 at 12:10pm

I'm surprised there wasn't a museum curator etc floating around they love that stuff.

There was a whale that washed up in SA about ten years ago near where I lived and I actually bumped into a guy contracted by the museum curator at the local one night who was there to remove the carcass and haul it off to the museum. He actually travelled around the country doing it for a job and the shit he was telling me about the fish/sharks that are burleyed in by a rotting whale was a real eye opener.

When I had a look at the carcass (the beach was on a local farm) there were a half dozen big 4- 5 metre pointers patrolling the beach about 10 feet from the waters edge in the deep gutter it was mental. Not to mention the massive slick made the water smooth as a pond and you could see giant schools of salmon and all sorts of predator/baitfish cruising around.

Surprise surprise I didn't have the rod that day either.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Tuesday, 10 Oct 2017 at 2:13pm

Dorsalwatch - Dead Whale at Ballina Sth of the river

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Tuesday, 10 Oct 2017 at 4:58pm
sharkman's picture
sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Wednesday, 11 Oct 2017 at 7:42am

Ah don't you love it when your local council knows best?
Last time they buried a whale on the beach , Tadashi was eaten by a great white 1 week later .
Lot cheaper to bury the whale than cut it up and take it off the beach , maybe all those who keep calling for a cull of sharks could start calling for whales being buried on the beach , or maybe we should just let the Japanese remove all the whales?

eat-your-vegies's picture
eat-your-vegies's picture
eat-your-vegies commented Tuesday, 10 Oct 2017 at 5:23pm

What could go wrong....

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Tuesday, 10 Oct 2017 at 6:16pm

Wow.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Tuesday, 10 Oct 2017 at 6:49pm

worst council in aust.....where is there duty of care to the locals.

simba

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 11 Oct 2017 at 10:08am

Two caught on local drumlines this morning.
Coincidence?

SharkSmart‏ @NSWSharkSmart 3m3 minutes ago
More
NSWDPI advise 2.56m Female White Shark caught on SMART drumlines at Airforce Beach, Evans Head. Shark tagged & released offshore.

SharkSmart‏ @NSWSharkSmart 6m6 minutes ago
More
NSWDPI advise 1.6m Male White Shark caught on SMART drumlines at Lennox Head. Shark tagged & released offshore.

If Ballina council is responsible for the burial it'll rank highly amongst the most stupid and expedient manoeuvres ever undertaken, considering what we know and the already high prevalence of white shark activity on this stretch of coast.

50young's picture
50young's picture
50young commented Wednesday, 11 Oct 2017 at 10:18am

According to Phil Myers the council was not involved in the decision it was a state dept

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Wednesday, 11 Oct 2017 at 11:40am

The link above says it was a NPWS decision.

That link also highlights how Danny Bucher from SCU seems to love his provocative statements. Of course it's no coincidence that the media like to run with these claims as headlines.

Also, for someone from the Office of Environment and Heritage to say that the site is 'remote' because it's 2km from a swimming/surfing beach is pretty tenuous.
The sooner they carry out their plan to dig it back up and cart it away the better.