The West

Rotting whale at SW beach angers surfers
Rotting whale at SW beach angers surfers

The Department of Environment and Conservation has agreed to removed a rotting shark carcass at a popular South West Beach because of community fears it would attract sharks.

Surfing champion Jake Paterson slammed the DEC decision to leave a whale carcass buried at Smiths Beach for close to two weeks, describing it as shark bait.

But A DEC spokeswoman confirmed a short time ago the carcass would now be removed.

"While the Department of Environment and Conservation believes the carcass has been safely buried, we have decided to remove it because of continued community concern,” she said.

Mr Paterson, a pro surfer who owns a local surf shop, pushed for the buried carcass to be removed.

“Smiths Beach is a popular beach and it washed up on the beach, it was decaying and the DEC decided to bury it rather than taking it away,” he said.

“With the problem the whole of WA is now facing with sharks, they could have done something else with it.”

Mr Paterson said signs at the beach warned of the buried shark carcass, effectively stopping surfing and swimming at one of the State’s best surf breaks.

“They closed the beach, no surfing and no swimming and they were monitoring it,” he said.

Mr Paterson said that though the whale was buried there were fears the whale could continue to seep whale oil for many years, attracting sharks.

The spate of five fatal shark attacks in WA over the past year had heightened alarm over shark attacks.

“It’s always on the back of people’s mind. I don’t surf by myself anymore and if it’s one of those gloomy days, I don’t surf,” he said.

Yallingup surf school owner Crystal Simpson also was concerned the whale carcass could attract sharks, despite being buried in sand dunes.

Ms Simpson said Smiths Beach had been closed to swimmers and surfers because of fears over the decaying carcass.

“This was one of the few breaks which is patrolled by lifesavers in the summer and it’s a very good surf beach,” she said.

“I’m stoked they are now going to move it, it will make everyone feel a lot safer.”

The West Australian

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