Shark fears have forced authorities to dig up a whale carcass buried on a beach near Ocean Grove a fortnight ago.
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) exhumed the carcass yesterday following public fears that leaking scents and oils would be an “ongoing” shark lure.
Department incident controller Barry James said the exhumation required several days of planning.
“Several options were considered, including the option to leave the carcass in-situ or to relocate it to another site,” he said
“This analysis, combined with feedback from the community, identified removal as the most suitable option.”
About 20 governmental staff worked on the removal, Mr James said.
“The removal process involved exhuming the whale from the beach and transporting it to a transfer area near the Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club’s beach access ramp.
“The remains were then transferred to the Drysdale landfill facility and placed in a designated burial area.
“Additional sand was removed from the area to clear any remnants, and the beach reinstated.”
Mr James said the “operation” took around 10 hours to complete.
“The safety of our staff and the community has been paramount during planning considerations and throughout the operation.
“Factors that required careful consideration included odour impacts, the operation of heavy machinery around a built up coastal area and management of the whale’s remains.
“The carcass’s location and nature of the operation required careful planning with several agencies, including Barwon Coast Committee, the City of Greater Geelong, the Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club, traditional owner groups, EPA Victoria, Lifesaving Victoria and local Victoria Police officers. We also met with several businesses and community members in the lead-up to and during the operation to address queries and concerns.
“Today’s operation saw a rolling exclusion zone enforced to ensure the process was conducted safely for all involved, which allowed the beach to remain open.
“We appreciate the community’s response to these measures and thank them for their cooperation and understanding throughout the operation.”
Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club last week contacted Bellarine MP Lisa Neville over concerns about the burial being an “ongoing shark attraction”, according to its Facebook page.