Hamelin Bay tragedy sees over 150 whales beached

The Department of Fisheries has released an update to their earlier warning over the mass stranding of short-finned pilot whales near Augusta on Friday morning.

According to the advice, around 75 whales have died after beaching themselves, and a further 75 whales remain on the beach and in the shallows of Hamelin Bay.

Parks and Wildlife Service staff are onsite and veterinary assistance has been organised to assess the health and wellbeing of the remaining live whales.

Support and equipment is being rushed to the scene to assist the rescue attempt to return the surviving whales to deeper water.

The whale carcasses were reported by a commercial fisherman at 6.00am on Friday March 23. Some of the whales remain alive, however the majority have washed ashore and are dead.

The whale carcasses are about one kilometre north of the Hamelin Bay boat ramp.

It is possible the dead and dying animals will act as an attractant, which could lead to sharks coming close in to shore along this stretch of coast.

While it’s not uncommon for sharks to be present off the Western Australian coast throughout the year, people should exercise additional caution until the stranding incident is resolved.

What to do:

Take additional caution in the Hamelin Bay area.

Adhere to beach closures advised by Local Government Rangers or Surf Life Saving WA.

Keep informed of the latest detection and sighting information by checking the SharkSmart website or Surf Life Saving WA’s Twitter feed.

If you see a shark, report it to Water Police on 9442 8600. All shark sighting information reported to Water Police is provided to response agencies and to the public on the SharkSmart website and the Surf Life Saving WA Twitter feed.

What authorities are doing:

Officers of the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attraction are deploying resources and will assess the situation.

Extra information: 

Keep informed of the latest detection and sighting information by checking the Shark Activity Map on the SharkSmart website – www.sharksmart.com.au/shark-activity or the Surf Life Saving WA Twitter –twitter.com/SLSWA.

Check www.sharksmart.com.au/news for current alerts and warnings.