Shark fears see beach closed

NOETZIE beach in Knysna will be closed over fears that the carcass of an adult humpback whale that washed up on the shore on Saturday could attract sharks.

By yesterday, the odour of the decomposing whale had become overwhelming and was already attracting scavengers.

"It is always sad to learn about one of these beautiful creatures dying in this unexplained manner," Knysna acting municipal manager Grant Easton said.

"It is unfortunate that this particular tragedy once again occurred on one of our beaches. The municipality is making arrangements to close the beach and to ensure that the beach is patrolled until it is safe for the public to swim again."

Meanwhile, efforts to remove the carcass from the beach are being discussed.

Garden Route National Park spokeswoman Nandi Mgwadlamba said two options were being considered.

"The first is to reposition the whale to face the high tide and, should this fail, to break the carcass into pieces and throw the pieces back into the sea," Mgwadlamba said.

Burying the carcass was not being considered as it only delayed the decomposition process. She said the cause of death was unknown. - Yolande Stander