10/25/13 – State, Federal, County Agencies Respond To Sperm Whale Carcass

Posted on Oct 25, 2013 in News Releases, Whale

DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
News Release

NEIL ABERCROMBIE
GOVERNOR
WILLIAM J. AILA JR,
CHAIRPERSON

For Immediate News Release October 25, 2013

STATE, FEDERAL, COUNTY AGENCIES RESPOND TO SPERM WHALE CARCASS

Heeia Small Boat Harbor northeast ramp now closed
for whale removal Saturday morning

HONOLULU — The Department of Land and Natural Resources, NOAA Marine Mammal Response Program and City and County of Honolulu Fire, Ocean Safety and Parks and Recreation departments worked together today in response to the arrival of a 30 to 40 foot sperm whale carcass that was reported on the reef about 150 yards offshore by Chinaman’s Hat. Several sharks were observed feeding on the carcass.

This afternoon, Ocean Safety, HFD and DLNR Enforcement warned people along the shore at Kualoa beach park or in the water to leave the water or not go in. The HFD Kaaawa station also launched its boat to warn divers and swimmers in the water.

Representatives from the NOAA Marine Mammal Response Program, DLNR Boating Division along with marine salvage operator Randy Cates responded to the scene and determined that the carcass could be towed away. An analysis of wind and current patterns over the next few days indicated that releasing the whale at sea would likely result in it returning to land. Therefore, the option of landfill disposal was determined to be the most prudent option.

Cates International is towing it to the northeast ramp of Heeia Kea small boat harbor where it will be processed and removed Saturday morning for disposal.

The northeast boat ramp at Heeia Kea harbor is now closed. Boaters and fishers are warned by way of this press release to stay out of the harbor and surrounding area due to the possible presence of sharks until the whale is removed and ocean conditions return to normal.

At Kualoa-Chinaman’s Hat, Ocean Safety did a sweep both offshore and onshore and found no signs of whale debris. We have also been informed the sharks are no longer feeding on the whale. Ocean Safety will stay at the beach until dark to warn beachgoers of the potential hazards that remain. At first light tomorrow, HFD’s Air One will do a flyover and Ocean Safety will be on scene to determine if the warning signs should remain up.

“We appreciate the focused efforts and cooperation of our partner agencies and staff to ensure public safety, and to quickly remove this marine hazard from Kaneohe Bay,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson.
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Media Contact:
Deborah Ward
Public information specialist
Phone (808) 587-0320
Deborah.L.Ward@hawaii.gov