Whale carcass task force call

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
This decomposing carcass has been stuck on near Canal Rocks for almost six months.
Camera IconThis decomposing carcass has been stuck on near Canal Rocks for almost six months. Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee

Greens MP Diane Evers has joined calls for a Statewide whale carcass strategy to rectify the “recurring issue” that forces the closure of popular beaches and surf breaks.

A decomposing whale carcass remains at Canal Rocks near Yallingup after it first washed up mid-August.

It is the longest remaining of several whales that have forced beach closures in recent months but there are no plans to remove it — despite the oil and effluent being a known shark attractant.

The South West MLC and Greens fisheries and marine (sharks) spokeswoman said the State Government needed to “co-operate and provide a solution” but she did not support the often-spruiked suggestion of towing the carcass out to sea.

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“The best thing would be for them (the carcasses) to be professionally broken down by a government task force and taken to the tip at a reduced cost,” she said.

“The State Government and local councils need to share the responsibility.

“There is no point in towing the whales out to sea for them to wash up on another council’s beach.”

While often on different sides of the shark debate, Ms Evers joined the likes of Vasse MLA Libby Mettam and Margaret River’s South West Safe Shark Group in calling for a Statewide policy.

In September, Ms Mettam suggested a “simple” policy that would use local resources, such as volunteers, while the group wanted carcasses to be towed 25km out to sea.

A Department for Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions spokeswoman said sometimes removal was not possible because of the condition and location of the carcass.

Rotting whale flesh is considered a biological hazard and volunteers are warned not to take the matter into their own hands.

The closure has been extended week-on-week since August 19.

It remained in place as the Times went to print.

DBCA encourages water users to check the shark activity map on Sharksmart.com.au for alerts and advice before heading to the beach and not to rely solely on signage.

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