Surfers, tourists and residents of Phillip Island have been warned sharks could be close offshore this long weekend after a 16-metre dead sperm whale washed up on the south coast of the island.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has warned onlookers to stay at least 300 metres away from the carcass at Forrest Caves while it decomposes or is eventually taken back out to sea by the tide.
DELWP incident controller Matt Green said the whale was first reported to authorities on Saturday morning, and samples of the carcass had been taken for research purposes.
“As there are no obvious signs of injury which may have resulted in this whale’s death, no further investigation will be undertaken by DELWP,” he said.
Mr Green said bringing in machinery to remove or bury the whale would have had “too significant an impact on environmental and cultural values in the area”.
“Allowing the carcass to break down naturally is also the simplest and most environmentally friendly method,” he said.
The department has taped off the area around the whale for the times when it is exposed at low tide, and requested people avoid the area.