An issue dead and buried?

Stu Nettle picture
Stu Nettle (stunet)
Swellnet Dispatch

In January 2016, a dead baby sperm whale washed up on the beach at Casuarina, northern NSW. Following established practice, Tweed Shire Council dragged the carcass up onto the foredune and buried it under two metres of sand.

Beach burial isn't the easiest method to dispose of a whale carcass - that would be to leave the carcass in situ and let nature take its course - however it's cheaper than removing the whale carcass from the beach. A year earlier in 2015, Pittwater Council had to pay $150,000 to remove a dead sperm whale from a rockshelf at Newport. Faced with these costs, it's understandable a council, particularly a regional council, might hire a bobcat and start digging.

The carcass of a sperm whale on Casuarina Beach prior to burial (Department of Primary Industries)

Unfortunately for Tweed Shire Council, they had to hire the bobcat twice: once to bury it, and the second time to exhume the carcass after locals raised concerns about fluids leaking from the carcass and attracting sharks.

At that point there'd been no scientifc study to determine if whale leachates attracted sharks, however through 2015 and 2016 a string of fatal shark attacks created fear on the NSW north coast and, irrespective of cost, burying dead animals on the shoreline no longer seemed wise.

Jane Lofthouse from Tweed Shire Council was frank in admitting council was folllowing community wishes and not the available science: "I suppose we are really responding to that community concern rather than any scientific evidence," Lofthouse told North Coast ABC.

By the following year, the burial of whales had become a wider concern. In September 2017, a humpback whale washed up on Nobbys Beach at Port Macquarie with the local council promptly burying it. As in Casuarina, the locals opposed it and ultimately won with the whale being exhumed at a cost of $65,000. Following the Port Macquarie dispute, the issue became a national debate with mainstream media running articles, not just on specific stranding events, but also the arguments for and against beach burial.

Sharks feed on a whale carcass (Yahoo!7)

The debate was sustained with beach burials, and later grisly exhumations, at both Ballina and Wurtulla in the following month, and Ocean Grove, Victoria, the next year. In each instance, the relevant authorities - either local council or the National Parks and Wildlife Service - deferred to the adopted practice of burial and subsequently bowed to community pressure. Fuelling the debate was a lack of scientific research, but Southern Cross University attempted to fill that vacuum with a two year study titled, 'Whale carcass leachate plumes in beach groundwater: A potential shark attractant to the surf?'

The study, which was completed last year, concludes that, when done correctly, burying whale carcasses on beaches will not attract sharks. James Tucker, the lead author of the study, said when he began his research, the belief was the opposite.

"The public perception at the time was that whale carcasses - even when they were buried on beaches - would attract sharks," said Tucker. "It seems a majority, or at least the most vocal majority were saying that they would attract sharks and make beaches more dangerous effectively." Tucker was of the belief his study would sway public opinion.

However, rather than resolving the issue, the SCU study only stirred the already muddy waters. For one, the study was based on just one trial and the researchers acknowledged assumptions from the study site could not be applied to all beaches given conditions and groundwater presence can vary. Also, the number of qualifiers in the study left the door ajar for doubt to creep in - a powerful force when human life is at stake.

In lieu of persuasive science, the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment compiled their own report, which recommended the National Parks and Wildlife Service provide a central advisory service to all landowners should a dead whale wash ashore. In response, the NPWS published a flowchart for managing whale carcass disposal and a checklist that all landowners can draw upon to make decisions.

Twice this month, Jane Lofthouse from Tweed Shire Council has had to refer to the flowchart. On the 6th October a dead humpback washed up at Casuarina Beach, while just two days ago on the 12th October, a pilot whale washed up at the same place. In both instances, Lofthouse chose to dispose of the body at a nearby waste facility. The NPWS checklist states removal is the "preferred option in urban and peri urban areas or there are health and safety risks to public at or adjacent to the site."

Since the NPWS assumed the central advisory role in May they've been a number of whales beached along the NSW coast. In July a Blainville beaked whale washed ashore at North Entrance, while in September whales washed ashore at Old Bar and Fingal Bay, both on the Mid North Coast, Bulli on the Illawarra coast, and Patchs Beach at South Ballina. In every instance they were removed from the beach for disposal in a waste facility.

"Ultimately, the decision [to remove a whale carcass] depends on where it washes up," Lofthouse told Swellnet, yet most of the Tweed coast would be considered "urban or peri urban" and hence require removal. The NPWS checklist still allows for beach burial, however what was once the default option for all local authorities has become, "the least preferred option for the disposal of a dead whale carcass," as defined by the NPWS. Recent responses would bear this out.

In an era where faith in government is at an all time low, this is one issue that people can feel they were listened to.


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bluediamond Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 3:10pm

Great article. Amazing that they can base their results (and put their own heads firmly on the chopping block...especially when playing with human lives) on one single study. Pretty hard to wrap your head around that and put any faith in what shark research scientists say, especially considering the anecdotal evidence from guys that are deeply involved in the ocean is for the most part dismissed. Pretty out of whack.
Personally, i definitely think burying a carcass on the beach is going to attract attention of some kind of life forms. Whatever the flow on effect of that would be in the food chain, who knows, but glad they've stopped.

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icandig Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 3:40pm

Thank you Stu for the update. I got a little uppity on the forums about a whales beaching, burial, exhumation and finally tip disposal at Ocean Grove. With the help of Swellnet contributors (esp. TBB) I changed my tune somewhat. There is no one size fits all, but at the very least the authorities should think beyond the quickest and easiest solution. Thankfully someone has attempted to provide a 'road map' (I'm loathe to use that term). If Tassie can tow hundreds of pilot whales out to sea, we at least know that is possible.

I quite like the idea of flensing the whale to remove and use the meat and bones of the whale - if it can be done before the rot sets in.

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AndyM Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 5:11pm

Any hydrogeologists out there?

The way I understand it (depending on the local hydrogeology) a whale buried in the foredunes or possibly even further inland will leach into the aquifer as it decomposes, and this will subsequently be discharged into the ocean at the freshwater/saltwater interface.

Anyone willing to have a punt as to whether this discharge would be strong enough to attract sharks?

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bluediamond Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 6:10pm

Hey Andy.
Love the way you're thinking.
Definitely not a scientist, so pure assumptions, I'm guessing that the fact it leaches into it's burial site, would mean that other organisms would be activated to feast upon it, which in turn would bring other larger organisms, hence a chain reaction of feeding mechanisms is put into place. Whether this is through the water table or soil, i have no idea, but what we all know is that where there is food, animals congregate. And the food chain being such is that where there are little wee animals in abundance, eventually, big dog animals move in because of the abundance. Nature in my opinion is fairly predictable. Everything wants to survive.

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Trentslatterphoto Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 4:34pm

fucking oath its going to seap back into the water and also leave the area oozing shit for years its making the problem prolonged.

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maka2000 Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 6:56pm

isn't it cheaper to attach a rope to its tale and tow it out the sea by medium-size boat? I

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gingeryeti Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 8:35am

I like your thinking. Let it float up to the next council.

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maka2000 Saturday, 17 Oct 2020 at 7:27am

I think the council is smart enough and knows they can't pocket enough money from this project so they'll have to implement all heavy machinerys and overprice the whole process.

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D-Rex Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 7:29pm

How do you attach a rope to a tale, maka? You could attach a knight, a sorcerer or even two cities to one but definitely not a rope.

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zenagain Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 7:44pm

You could try a fairy too, but they're quite delicate.

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JQ Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 8:57pm

I'd recommend staples, failing that glue perhaps.

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maka2000 Saturday, 17 Oct 2020 at 7:25am

let's not dig into technicality of attaching a rope or cable, it can be done the question is why the council doesn't even try it.

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zenagain Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 7:41pm

I'm kinda with Icandig above. Depending on the condition of the carcass, couldn't the whale be 'recycled' and turned into products and food? Ideally I reckon the best solution is to tow it out to sea and let mother nature take its course, the next best would be to break it down and turn it into useful products.

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icandig Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 9:02pm

There's a few articles and forum threads on Swellnet which have been over this topic before. I'll do my best to remember some of the ideas. I like the idea of recycling it, chopping it up as fertiliser / dog food / lamp oil - whatever, but it was pointed out that one solution simply doesn't cater to every problem. Flensing as part of indigenous ritual (as in NZ) seems like a perfect solution, but maybe not with 300 whales at once (Macquarie Harbour). Whales towed out to sea sometimes float back up and return to shore. A decomposed whale is a slimy god awful mess - I sure wouldn't want to scoop it up with a shovel. The ol' dynamite solution would be fun...can someone dig up that video again? I might be wrong cos I've only skim read it, the National Parks and Wildlife Service review covers some of the alternatives but doesn't really provide a solution - it appears to be a step in the right direction. I've also had a skim over the findings of The Southern Cross University paper which found no conclusive evidence that burying a whale will attract sharks -the testing was limited and I find hard to take it's conclusions seriously. Ever been shark fishing? Nah, me either, but I know people who have and guess what? They use dead fish and guts and oil as berley. As a non scientist and only my semi rational brain to guide seems to make sense that burying a whale in sand, near the ocean is going to act like a dinner bell to passing sharks. I don't need any further studies to convince me otherwise.

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morg Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 7:45pm

@maka it depends how dead it is. Yep if it’s freshly dead, however after a period of time the dead flesh more readily tears apart while being towed out through the surf and that potentially creates a much bigger mess.

Several years ago when discussing this topic with a marine biologist or biologist(?), they were of the opinion that dead whales attracting sharks was only of concern relatively early in the death cycle and not after the whale carcass was buried. The rationale was based on the feeding patterns of various fish, sharks, animals etc. Along the lines of sharks generally eat living and or relatively freshly dead things, whereas some other animals, insects etc prefer to eat very dead stuff, and that the sharks wouldn’t be attracted to discharge from a decomposing carcass.

It did seem to make sense at the time but our reality as surfers is that now sharks and shark attacks are just way to prevalent so burying the carcass inland sounds good to me.

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AndyM Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 7:49pm

How do you circumcise a whale?

You send down four skindivers.

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bluediamond Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 8:08pm

hahaha. Perfect way to finish out the day. Cheers A.M! Yew!

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icandig Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 9:07pm

But what to do with all the skin Andy? The Russians have got you (or your next car at least) covered.

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megzee Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 9:39pm
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icandig Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 10:32pm

Ha Ha. I knew someone would find it.

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Bungan33 Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 5:46pm

Great...thanks internet...I just spent 20 minutes of my life I will never get back watching exploding dead whales.....what has my life come to?!?!

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dandob Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 10:42pm

Not an issue in Yuragir national park. They just leave them where they are on the beach to decompose. Three in the last four years :(

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thermalben Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 9:11am

Accessibility could be an issue. I imagine there'll be a lot of coasts where it's not feasible.

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dandob Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 2:18pm

True. I even wonder if it's not a better practice than burying them in the sand. They seem to be broken down fairly quickly by natural elements. Under a year to pure skeletal remains.

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thermalben Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 2:26pm

Health risks perhaps? Not to mention the smell, which can traverse long distances under the right conditions.

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The Fire Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 11:30pm

Coupla things..

A) how does nature do it?

B) are we still seeing shark attraction from these beach burials years later?

C) maybe let the japanese get stuck into these carcasses, for "science".

D) i clearly remember seeing footage of an SA bogan standing on a dead whale float out at sea off Cape Jervois, SA, with a new born in his arms while GWS plural were feeding on said whale!

Or am i mis-remembering?

I figured it was a great time to surf the near by spot cos no one else would be there.. (sharks and humans).

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Jono Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 9:23am

You remember correctly, he was front page news. I went down there the next day on a charter boat, amazing to see the sharks. They were big too, bit unnerving considering we would surf just around the corner from Cape Jervis.

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udo Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 9:27am

Remember this Fool


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SA Wetdog Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 9:58am

There is no waves around the corner from cape jervis jono! Ha

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savanova Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 8:54am

Why dont they drag em out to sea, hang around and tag all the sharks that come for a free feed. Its natures version of Clam-alot from the Simpsons with all the little hungry Homers coming to make pigs of themselves.

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jasper99 Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 9:56am

Wondering what the condition of a whale carcass is like once it reaches shore? This would vary clearly but if the carcass's are making to shore relatively bite free does this mean that a carcass sacreets more tasty aromas once it's hit shore because it's decomposing quicker?

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Ellen's clam Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 10:58am

We need to strap the carcasses to rockets and fire them into the sun.
It’s the only way to be sure.

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Howie66 Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 11:40am

Why does it need to be buried on the beach? Surely there’s some vacant council land somewhere in the middle of nowhere it can be buried? Put it on a truck and go bury it in the bush somewhere. Deep of course

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hmd Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 11:42am

That is the best, funniest and most feasible solution yet haha! Thanks Ellen's Clam you rock :-)

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frog Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 12:31pm

The smell of a fully rotten whale can be incredible. Someone I know walked past one and never got closer than about 10 metres but ended up with his hair and clothes absolutely reeking of dead whale. That affects the disposal methods and choices a bit.

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Da human fish Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 3:31pm

Act fast before rotting and take it to the local knackery and sell as pet food.

Also pretty sure whales provide quality oils/candles, & ambergris (sperm whales only)

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Corey Enfield Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 5:45pm

Cant help but feel we should find a way to keep them in the ocean, herd the damn sharks out to sea. But seriously, why do we always try to fix every problem, keep every human safe from just about everything that exists in the world? Just leave it all alone.
General rant, i understand all the reasons for discussion.

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extradry Friday, 16 Oct 2020 at 8:47pm

Strange how 3 whales have washed up in the same spot.
just north of Cabarita (casuarina).
Some unknown reason for this?
3 in 4 years seems more than random.
But hey what do i know?i just like the taste of em

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D-Rex Saturday, 17 Oct 2020 at 9:49am

There was a whale washed up at Gunna/Pumping Station a year or so ago which was left to the elements. Didn't take all that long for it to disperse but required a 24/7 Parks Victoria guard for some strange (expensive) reason. The guard told me, when asked, that no sharks had been seen in the water adjacent to the whale, which surprised me but clearly surfers (myself included) weren't taking the risk as the stretch of beach was surfable but empty the day I visited.

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poo-man Saturday, 17 Oct 2020 at 12:23pm

Yeah a whale about 10m long washed up on the rocks a couple of years ago at my local. In a pretty inaccessible place between the aptly named Whale Bay and boneyards. Maybe only 100m from where I surf at boneyards quite a bit. The smell was horrendous for only a couple of weeks then it actually decomposed really quickly left to the elements. But we could smell it while surfing and I never saw any sharks but then again I haven't ever seen a shark in the surf at raglan in 40 odd years. Plenty of orcas but no sharks. But it was quite interesting how quickly it decomposed and all smell was gone in 2 weeks and I went back a few weeks later and it was just a bunch of bones at the High tide mark in the rocks

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truebluebasher Saturday, 17 Oct 2020 at 4:35pm

Great work Mr Tucker has been in the Media a lot recently.

tbb thought to reintroduce Jim to the crew...not as a dartboard but as a spokesman.
Reckon Jim deserves another crack...if we can't hear out a fellow it goes!

Mr Tucker recently updated or seemingly 'bypassed' his own findings in the ABC
Impacts on Shark Activity...(Read full statements in above ABC link!)

"The behaviour of Sharks can change when there's a Whale Carcass on the Beach."
"Near a beached Carcass, they cut laps & circle, getting really interested in the area."
"Not necessarily more dangerous, but hang around longer."
"Unsure at this point, on how long Sharks hang around...after removal?"

[FACTCHECK] Current advice!
SLS NSW + WA sharksmart now advise [ Beach Closed ] well after Whale is gone.
Authorities state that remaining residue attracts sharks from Beach + in Ocean.
Empty Beach stays Closed...(How could a Beach reopen with a Buried Whale leak?)

Mr Tucker also canvasses a full suite of Oz disposal options > Tasmanian Mass Kill.
Examples what NSW might deploy in similar scenario. (Rare insight into secret order!)

Crew don't mind if Jim mixes it up...just keep the debate going & you'll win us over.

tbb has been compiling / reviewing ~ #1 swellnet Beached Whale files 2019/20...
Files reveal progress, patterns & politics, back soon to share some State Secrets!

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Groper Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 9:02am

Landfill disposal costs would have been a factor in decision making process for local government. NSW EPA waste levy for regional areas (aka state government cash cow) is $85/tonne. Positive move providing an exemption from this levy.

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Cetus Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 12:17pm

"It seems a majority, or at least the most vocal majority were saying that they would attract sharks and make beaches more dangerous effectively."

This sums up the Swellnet community pretty well ... a vocal majority that bases their opinion on assumptions rather than science.

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icandig Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 1:53pm

Where is your science sir? Have you collected your own data and presented your findings for peer review? Cetus - have you just made assumptions about the entire Swellnet community without evidence or proof? Does that make you one of us?

Here's a link for you - not a scientific study. Also not a buried carcass, but some compelling evidence that dead whales attract sharks. (Thanks Legrope for the link from a 2018 post).'s another just for you Cetus.

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Cetus Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 2:42pm

Haha ... fair call.

Looks like I'm in the right place.

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Jamyardy Tuesday, 20 Oct 2020 at 8:32pm

Another old one from WA where they chopped it up and trucked it out. This one had visible shark bites on the carcass.

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truebluebasher Sunday, 18 Oct 2020 at 4:52pm

#1 swellnet exclusive ~ Oz marine megafauna carcass removal review.

Most carcasses measure to 1- 4m & all can attract sharks
Large Turtles, Dugong, Seals, Humpback Calves are the most counted.
Dolphin, Sharks, Pilot Whales also feature on regular basis.
Mid size range (5-10m) Whales tend to beach on return Migration.(eg: WA / NSW)
Each State is likely to deal with a Mid - Mega Whale at least once or twice a year.

Qld Dugong Carcasses are a weekly concern.
Bunbury & Nth Coast NSW are recent Hot Spots for medium sized Whale Carcasses.
Fuelled by Climate Change Bio diversity in fish / forage grounds, now Whale Calving.

Xmas Ebay Shipping (Aug-Oct) wipes-out return Whale migration for Shark Frenzy.
Shark Mitigation is proud to say they kill less each year.
Saltwater resource can number 20 carcasses at once
Disease is less common but is still considered a threat.

As such, all keep a secret order of Carcass disposal, to stay hidden from plain sight.
None wish to be labelled a whale or cute marine critter killer by hook or by crook.

tbb can lend insight into Universal Carcass Removal & the reasoning behind it!
No! It's not simple, in fact it mostly cross layers to absolve all association to Carcass.
Again! This is not a sinister plot but a necessary evil to maintain tradition or funding.
If ever there was a blokey Govt portfolio then Carcass Removal is yer man. (Man Up!)

Tip! Carcass disposal costs impact on organisation's time, volunteers & budget!
Govt's seldom cover the true costs...very reason that rescue mobs are short lived.

Sighting of injured Marine Mammals..

# Tow Outs ~ WA still practice Towing of approaching Carcass (re: Tas.)
WA are more vigilante with greater number of large sharks near urban beaches.
Crew will recall North Coast Towie Surfers..(Thanx swellnet)

# Shark Nets / Drums - Hook leaves evidence on up to 3.5 metre critters.
Disposal is convenient, near & cheap (Offshore Chain Weights - some return ashore!)
Govt's are not sold on tortured gruesome Summer beach exhibits by their own hand!

# Boating Authorities Patrol Bays & River Carcasses (Most Common)
Carcasses are left (in Situ) with Boatie advice for Obstacle & Sharks
Exception being a Headless / Slitted Saltwater fare...(This would be removed!)

# Rescue Teams > Waterway or Beach Retrieval.
Post Biopsy the carcass is again (Conveniently shipped out to sea & weighted).
Primarily as they have boating resource & permission to cut Budget Outlay.
Note: Rescue groups deal with Diseased Carcasses in Govt Bio Secure means.

# Council Carcass Removal from Beach (see also Rare / Tagged / Mega Whales)
Usually wait days for Highest Tides to take it back out or move it clear of next tides.
Whale may be shunted or Towed the extra yards to clear Tidal reach (Sharks)
Standard Carcass is simply removed by Bobcat to Pick Up Truck > Bio Mass Tip!
Note: (Removal + Buried Off Site + Landfill ) Seldom mean 'Tip' > Relocation Burial.

# Retrieval Teams > Headlands + Outcrops
Usually Delayed...(NSW) Hazard Zones are not Work sites. (Top Dollar removal)
Carcass is preferred to Rot (in Situ) > Warnings -Mostly Boaties / apps
Urban Outcrops- Bank on Highest Tide before removal by Towing (Not expertly)
Barge / Cranes & Skips then Carcass goes to a Bio Mass Tip as ( Putrescible Waste )
If you got a Whale splattered over yer Headland will cost $200,000...

Cont...Outcrop Delays = Community angst..bury their own carcass without Govt!

# Leaving a Beached Carcass (in Situ) (Mega Whales or Isolated Outcrops / Beaches)
Museums decide Thumbs Up or Down to keep rare Large specimens (SA / Vic /WA)
Mega Whale will lockdown an isolated Beach for 6 months or more.

# Mega Whale Disposal...
Whale will again be towed clear of High Tide...possibly a tad more. (Snapping Straps)
Here the Bobcats circle a sand barricade to hide the Chainsaw Massacre
The trucks back up & cart the chunks to Bio Mass Tip...(In Future an energy resource)

Crowds step back 100m for o/n Trophy Hunters & Drone invasion scoops the pics.
Research suggests Govt Control Media in days after as reports are cut completely.
Extremely rare to continue with post death Mega clean up...( A no go zone) Shh!

What you read here, is an exhaustive research on least popular of topics. (It's sick!)
Ain't no one getting a prize for scavenging Carcass Clippings...(Nor dream of such!)

Sept 2020 Mega Whale in Qld Saltwater Council Shire (Where did it Vanish to?)
Just to show how sick...(tbb traced everything in local Saltwater Town...Nothing!)
tbb did track down a Govt Tender : Whale Skips (Name) Huge Sunny Coast Company.
Thinking they'll employ "Respectful'' Saltwater Boys to hack it up & fill Skips.
Then the Massive Truck Sized Solid Skips...Possibly empty at Big City Tips on return.
So Yeah! Qld's biggest Carcass gets no news...if crew also think it's news. Stoked!

# Exemptions (Onsite Carcass Burial)
Diseased Whales demand minimum process to distant Saltwater & city whole.
In isolated cases (Yes!) Onsite burial is still very much a valued needed disposal tool.
Adding it's not size related...more so the emergency to save a population.
Tourism / Saltwater have been known to adopt onsite burial as prompt & respectful.
eg: NP do not wish a Whale to block high tide permitted 4wd Beach Warriors.
This is the least common option...perhaps only once or twice per year each State.

# Relocation to isolated Beach Burial.
Govt control this process to restrict access to Carcass. (Most Secretive of all)
As tbb said, they'll use code words > Carcass is Removed / Off Site Burial / Landfill.
* Disease is to be kept isolated in Isolated Dunes...then this is the best option.
* A rare large Species of any critter will be buried in Top Secret Govt Dunes Site
Feb 2020 NSW NP Scrawny Beaked Whale buried at a secret location! (Their words!)
* Tagged Sea Mammals are also buried secretly for continued Test Sampling.
* Exhumation may be needed for any / all above reasons or other.
* Above Stu's feature highlights NSW secret testing on Whale Carcasses in Dunes..

tbb will finish with current most amazing, mindblowing whale disposal method.
Now as this is new to whole crew...if any could flesh this out or link, would be cool!

27 Sept 2020 -Rob Buck Tas (Parks/Wildlife)
CSIRO chose disposal site for fastest widest 60 mile dispersal
200 carcasses were towed out to 5-10 miles behind Large Vessels.
Each Carcass was pierced with a 1cm incision to burst, sink & decompose quicker.
The Bodies of the whales are tied / separate into pods, enclosed in Water Booms.
Booms were supplied by Tas Aquaculture industry.
"This isolates them from Sharks & other predators / Marinelife!"
They then cut the knot with a knife to release a whale each 200m -300m apart

Another 50 goes to land fill & the rest will decompose on the Beach.
Logistics & Tide Timetable dictate the disposal means, locale & numbers.
Crew send massive salute to Tas crew...super effort!

Qld Credit for extensive & detailed Dugong (Marine Mammal Carcass disposal)

2019/20 swellnet whale carcass timeline

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Kevchecksurf Monday, 19 Oct 2020 at 10:11pm

Wow what a storm in a teacup.
Firstly, kudos to all the people not taking this thread seriously.
Secondly, kudos to Cetus for pointing out how dumb everyone else sounds. Opinions of loud people should not carry more weight than science.
Finally, what's the big deal?
Historically, whales wash up on beaches.
They decompose, all by themselves, for free. People who feel that they attract sharks don't go in the water. People who feel they smell bad don't hang out at that particular beach.
There is no issue here whatsoever

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MPWA Monday, 19 Oct 2020 at 11:53pm

Cottesloe Beach 1996, Sharks were an afterthought.

"The 20 metre long, 60 tonne whale had been dead for four or five days when authorities took action to deal with it about 500 metres off the reef near the Cottesloe groyne. While she did not detail the outcome she described the operation as "unsuccessful"."

They buried that carcass on the beach, or at least parts of it. 1997 Brian Sierakowski kayak is attacked by a large shark whilst paddling of Cottesloe. In 2000 Ken Crew, is killed metres from shore in knee deep water basically in the area where they buried the whale.

Let them rot, tow them away, cart them off to landfill, but don't let your council bury them. Its basically criminal negligence. If they must bury them, they should be sign posted.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Tuesday, 20 Oct 2020 at 2:35pm

Storm in a teacup / Not a big thing .
Just a small reminder & not trying to be rude...

Diseased Carcass..(Above) Removal is by PPE gear only > (Bio Hazard)
Skin Cancers, Drowning, Pathogens, Bites & Stings + Carcass is no less a threat.
No! This does not present in Oz History.
Many intact carcasses are cautioned to possess a killer virus...transferable to Humans.
Health Officials least wish to spread further unknown incurable virus.
Sea critters inject the most highly toxic life long illness with zero cure...tbb has one.
Ocean has viral outbreaks from pets, our med runoff + airborne + oceanic...( No cures!)
Sure! The smell of a Whale can close a town but incurable virus will bury the City.

(Whale Distancing ) 30m Swimming > 300m Injured > 100m Carcass
Priority Threat Level: (1) Rescue (2) Carcass (3) Selfie
Note: > 3 selfie women smashed up by Whales in one Week (Is least important)

1st Nation would target lame whale & Sing > light fire trails to drive Whales ashore.
Whales provided a feast..
Medicine, homewares, decoration, weapons, tools, Oils, housing construction..
(No Australian / World History records valued decomposing whales pre Invasion?)

Flinders & Oxley tripped over Whale Vessel Wrecks that predated Cook. (No secret!)
Here in Oz the #1 Big thing people did was called Whaling in an Ocean sized teacup.
This largest industry on Earth Involved killing the Largest creatures on Earth.

tbb is not saying Aussies should know about their biggest thing ever.
Aussies bury Discovery, Genocide, Torture & Whaling Stations cop a cold shoulder.
That is the line Aussies's selfish & we are those guys!

Again in our era Whales were never at liberty to decompose on Oz Beaches...
Such privilege was long fought for and is only a recent right so to speak.
Yes! It was a mighty big deal celebrated worldwide...for sure.

1790 First Settlement sighting of a Whale near shore led to a warcry ... Kill! Kill! Kill!
1822-1935... 26,000 Whales in Australia had been slaughtered.
1935 Southern Right Whale is Protected (2020 shows signs of recovery)
1936-38 WA killed 12,000 Whales in 2 years
1939 Wartime 10 year Moratorium
1949 - 1963 WA 18,000 Whales were Slaughtered (Pop reduced to 800 Whales)
1952-62 East Coast slaughtered 12,500 leaving just 200-500
1963-5 World Humpback protection (OZ/NZ) Slaughtered 40,000
1960-67 WA 20 Whales washed ashore...Increasing > (2019 -12 washed ashore)
1952-1978 WA Sperm Whaling ended.
1986 - Ban on Commercial Whaling

tbb's local Wrap...
No whale would dare choose to holiday on our Gold Coast WSR ~ (Sadly, a few did !)
Week long Whale Rituals in tbb's town.
Shark Shooting, Towing, Dynamite, Kero torching, Slicing, Dicing, Gas Mask Burial.
Town owners would sue Council for chunks of Whale smashing holes in their Roof.

The next Shire North 'Moreton' slaughtered 6,277 Whales.
Miss Australia would Surf The Whales for her Promos.
Never thought of that shot as a self decomposition portrait?
White Whales like Migaloo are now free to Model -Drones, Selfie Sticks & Propellers

The next Shire South of Tweed > Byron slaughtered 1,166 Whales.

Tweed just closed 20km of beaches due to a Whale Carcass.

Historically very few VIP Whales washed up to Pimp a Resort beach for a year.
Stu / tbb explained recent Large Whales (in situ) on dangerous & isolated beaches.
Also reminding that often these beaches are closed for 9 months to a year.

Very few Towns will surrender 20km Premium real estate for 9 months to a year!
No swimming along 20km Oz #1 Iconic Drawcard for 1 year because of a Whale?
Ok! Now that's a pretty big deal...Good Luck trying to Bankrupt Oz Tourist Meccas!

Worst Pandemic in history Locks down a Tourist Mecca for a week!
But a Whale can lock down a 10x Bigger Tourist Mecca for a year!
Let's say for example the Pandemic is the biggest thing ever!
Then just one Whale is a 500 x bigger issue to a Resort Mecca.
Hence Govts, swellnet & tbb report about this pretty big deal!

bluediamond's picture
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bluediamond Tuesday, 20 Oct 2020 at 6:07pm

Brilliant TBB, especially that last part....and as Greenlam above says, i didn't know that about that either (transferrable virus to humans).
Many years ago i had to help my parents hack up a dead Sperm whale on the beaches of the SA sth coast so they could whack it's skeleton in their museum. Proper standing on the blubber with a flensing knife just hacking chunks of meat off it. The stench was pure evil and all consuming. I can still smell it deep in my smell senses some 30 years later. Hopefully didn't catch the whaley disease. Hope alls well with your health in that regard mate.

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GreenJam Tuesday, 20 Oct 2020 at 3:21pm

Interesting on the viruses transferrable to humans TBB.

I was once on an end-of-season footy team day trip to the Sunny Coast, and a mate started messing around with a large dead shark on Marcoola Beach, playing the fool, putting his head in around its mouth. About an hour later he was violently ill, the throwing up just wouldnt stop and he was just about screaming in pain, we had to drive the bus back to Bris and didnt want him constantly throwing up in it, so they took him to a local Medical Centre and the doctor decided to dose him up on pethidine - that shut him up, they wheeled him out of the medical centre in a wheelchair, dumped him in the backseat with a bucket next to him, but we didnt hear from him the whole trip back. It worked. Anyway, he was still pretty crook for a few more days. He certainly picked up some bug from that rotting carcass.

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truebluebasher Friday, 1 Jan 2021 at 12:43am

Stu said...the game did change this year & in many ways it did.
Exclusive swellnet insight will show exactly where those changes are headed.
See file below for links if needed... this list should cover most changes!

Freed from Nets - Qld 4 + Drumline 1 (Later died)
Man openly defied all laws to free Whale from nets

Whale Attacks on swimmers -WA 3
Swimmers encroached on Whale Calves & got smashed by Mums

Whale in Line Up - NSW 1
Surf Whale reclaims line up...(Will surfers need to Back off?)

Carcass Towed - NSW 2 / Qld 2 / Tas 2 / WA 1
Wotz New! Anybody / Everybody now Tows Whales & Govt are cool with it!
Clubbies got Local Outboard crew to have a crack! Game has changed.

Carcass left offshore - Tided out - WA 5 / NSW 3 / SA 1
Authorities now observe & will tow if needed.

Carcass left on beach (< 5kms >) - SA 2 / NSW 2 / WA 2 / Tas 1 / Vic 1 / Qld delay
3kms buys a few days delay > 5kms to remote is fine to leave Carcass.
Note: Tas event counts as single but Whales have washed up along coast.

Ceremonies- Vic 1 (Open) / note Qld Saltwater Ceremonies (Private)
Vic smoking ceremony buries a piece of the Whale to mark end of Journey

Carcass Buried on same Beach - WA 1
A small carcass on wide beach (see Stu's lead- Now only for small or emergency)

Alternate Govt Beach Burial - NSW 1
For research or Quarantine Purpose

Taken to Lab - NSW 2
Usually for rare Whales or even just rare parts of Whales.

Taken to Museum - SA 1 (Considered).
Usually a rare Large Whale

Dissected on Beach - NSW 1 / Qld 1 / Vic 1
Sand mounds / Moats / Screens + PPE (Beware of Ivory / Ambergris Poachers)

Tip- NSW 3 / WA 3 / Vic 2 / Qld 2
Tip / Landfill / Offsite are vague (Closest Bio Hazard Treatment Plants)

See exclusive swellnet beached Whale Files (Updated- complete 2020)

icandig's picture
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icandig Friday, 1 Jan 2021 at 8:14pm

Thanks TB. A whale washed up on Fairhaven beach 16th of December.

It was chopped up and trucked away. Some of it was left behind (buried on site) for the local indigenous community to perform a ceremony. There were reported shark sightings in the area before and after it beached. Today a 3 meter Whitey was spotted by a rescue helicopter not far from it. Not unusual in itself, but I wonder whether there is still a whiff of whale meat trickling out to sea. I went down to watch it get chopped up. Worst stench I have ever encountered.

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bluediamond Monday, 22 Mar 2021 at 8:42am

Was down at Forest Caves yesterday and saw this one. How do they expect it's going to decompose over time and slowly naturally break down. There's no way i'd be surfing that stretch of the Island for months if that's the could actually see all the bits of flesh floating around in the water near it, slowly drifting out to sea. Pretty sure i saw a huge shadow in the water off the point further up the beach that wasn't bull kelp.

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simba Monday, 22 Mar 2021 at 10:59am

one washed up at back beach angas 25 years ago or so and it took months to decompose and the stench on a hot day was eye watering......if it was buried on the beach the fat and blood still leaches out for a long long time........possibly years .

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 22 Mar 2021 at 11:12am

So no attempts are being made to remove it? The Fairhaven one got dealt with really quickly.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Monday, 22 Mar 2021 at 11:37am
Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 22 Mar 2021 at 11:52am

Break down naturally, jeez that's gonna take ages..

stunet's picture
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stunet Monday, 22 Mar 2021 at 11:59am

Based upon examples from the last few years, the decision on whether to remove it or not rests solely with the local community.

To wit, how much noise the local community makes.

Every time a carcass was carted away was due to community uproar.

SCU even conducted doctorate research that found burying it above the above the high tide wouldn't attract shark, yet councils still bowed to public pressure.

So, the blueprint is laid for local surfers uneasy about a carcass allowed to breakdown naturally.

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velocityjohnno Monday, 22 Mar 2021 at 6:26pm

Down South WA crew - question - when the WSL cancelled those few years ago, and there were the two attacks, and Gabriel bolted (and the locals defaced the tourism sign with the penis-shark); at this time there were heaps of whale strandings/carcasses between the capes iirc. Were these left to rot, and if so, what happened since? Any run-ins nearby?

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icandig Monday, 22 Mar 2021 at 8:32pm

Maybe not enough punters or enough noise from the Island community to sway council? I wouldn't trust a burial in the dunes despite the SCU study. I also won't be surfing anywhere on the south side of the Island anytime soon. In 1985 Vic Hislop caught a beast of a shark off Nobbies, stuffed it, froze it and drove it around the country in a refrigerated truck. I remember seeing it in a shopping centre in G-Town. (Freaked me the fuck out). I'm not sure how to post pics, but if you want to see what might be lurking, sniffing out whale excretions, check this link.

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goofyfoot Monday, 22 Mar 2021 at 8:49pm

Wonder how old that thing was?

I feel sorry for it tbh, the thing could be 50 + years old, been cruising the worlds oceans and it’s had its life ended from some cockhead just to show it off to people to inflate the cuntz ego.
Vic deserves to have that hook fed through his arsehole and towed around out the back of Cactus.

icandig's picture
icandig's picture
icandig Monday, 22 Mar 2021 at 9:29pm

He was a shameless self promotor and cockhead. Out of business now.

bluediamond's picture
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bluediamond Monday, 22 Mar 2021 at 8:49pm

High dunes so pretty inaccessible by machinery. Rocks each side of the bay so pretty hard for ocean access. Its kinda sitting in the lee of a rock platform on the western end of the beach so can't see natural forces moving it. Stinks like hell and if what I saw was a shark yesterday it was the biggest one I've ever seen. Definitely a problem for the island crew coming into the prime surf season.