A 17-meter-long and 3-meter-wide adult sperm whale was spotted on Eton Beach last week, its carcass beached, leaving the Chief of the community claiming its remains.
Principal Fisheries Officer Jayven Ham released a caveat on behalf of the Fisheries Department, stating that anyone caught scavenging parts of the dead fish are looking at penalties as much as VT500 million.
“We talk with the community not to touch or taking any part of the whale, anyone caught doing so will be penalized. The chief who owns the land came, he said the whale will remain here until we collect the skeletons to put in their nakamal or something. There isn’t an exemption but if the whale died from natural causes, then you as the community will have to apply for a permit to keep any part of the whale in the area,” Mr. Ham explained.
According to the Principal Fisheries Officer after the fisheries team first observation, they deduced that the whale died approximately two-weeks ago and was washed ashore.
“During our observation we looked around to find out the main cause of death. It is still unknown, we have taken some tissue samples to find out what might have caused its death,” Mr. Ham said.
Currently, the tissue samples are in a freezer in the care of the Fisheries Department.
“We will talk to our scientific team and we will decide where to send it to find out the cause of death,” he added.
The carcass of the sperm whale was buried on Saturday, September 5.