VIDEO: Shark Advisory Due to Decomposing Baby Whale at Kanahā

March 24, 2015, 11:27 AM HST · Updated March 24, 4:34 PM
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By Maui Now Staff

UPDATE: The 10-foot carcass of a dead humpback whale was towed three miles out to sea about 9:30 a.m. today by a boat belonging to the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement. The DOCARE boat with aquatic and boating staff aboard launched and, with lifeguard help, were able to tie onto the whale with ropes. It was towed into the channel and released so currents could move it away from the island. A flyover by the county fire helicopter did spot several sharks feeding on smaller pieces of whale in the nearshore waters. The beach areas will remain closed until sunset this evening. In the morning an assessment will be done for presence of sharks.

Whale carcass at Kanahā. Photo courtesy County of Maui, Ocean Safety division.

Whale carcass at Kanahā. Photo courtesy County of Maui, Ocean Safety division.

Ocean Safety crews were assigned to patrol waters offshore of Kaʻa Point near Kahului Airport in Kahanā after sharks were seen feeding on a decomposing baby whale carcass.

Fire officials say 10-fot long tiger shark was seen feeding on the carcass of the baby whale at around 5:40 p.m. on Monday, March 23, 2015, at Kaʻa in the area also known as “Kite Beach.”

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Fire crews were initially called to investigate a possible oil slick outside of Kahului Harbor.  At the time, crews observed an object and what appeared to be an oil sheen trailing from it about 400 yards outside of the east breakwater of the harbor, but couldn’t determine what it was.

About that time, Harbor officials contacted the Pride of America cruise ship which was making its way out of Kahului Harbor, to see if they could identify the object and source of the slick, said Acting Fire Services Officer Edward Taomoto.

According to Taomoto, the ship’s captain relayed that the object was a dead whale and sharks were feeding on it.

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Early this morning Ocean Safety officials located the 10-foot long baby whale, about 100 yards offshore of Kaʻa point.  Crews have been conducting patrols by watercraft this morning and warning beachgoers of the higher shark presence in the area between the Hale Nanea clubhouse on Amala Place and the eastern most part of Kanahā Beach Park.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources, DOCARE division is also arranging for the removal of the decomposing whale.

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