A team of experts from state and federal agencies has decided the large whale carcass stuck on a patch of reef in Kaneohe Bay should be left where it is for now.
The carcass washed onto the reef in the northern part of the bay about a mile offshore of Waikane on Tuesday morning. Officials said it appears at this time that waves will not bring the carcass to shore.
After considering their options, the team, made up of the state’s Division of Aquatic Resources and Conservation and Resources Enforcement, representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and University of Hawaii Marine Mammal Stranding Team, decided that with the challenges of extracting the carcass from the shallow waters of the reef, the best plan for now is to leave it in place and to monitor it daily.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources advises boaters and other ocean users to stay away from the carcass due to the possible presence of sharks feeding on it.
“If the carcass begins to break apart and move toward shore, the agencies involved will reassess plans and adjust them accordingly,” said DLNR in a press release. “Hawaiian cultural practitioners who’ve been consulted about the carcass indicate they favor the stay-in-place option”
The species of the whale carcass remains unknown.