Public urged to stay away after dead humpback whale washed up on Northumberland beach

A dead humpback whale has washed up on a Northumberland beach.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 1:24 pm

The 11-metre (33 feet) mammal, was spotted on the sands at Blyth beach this morning (Friday, March 19).

An HM Coastguard spokesman said: “We received reports of a beached whale at Blyth from numerous members of the public around 7.20am.

"Local coastguard officers are in attendance and a small cordon is in place to keep the public away.”

A humpback whale off the Northumberland coast.

The finding has been reported to Northumberland County Council which will have responsibility for disposing of the whale.

A council spokesperson said: “A deceased juvenile whale has washed up on Blyth beach.

“The county council is organising the removal and disposal and in the interim are working with the coastguard and police to keep people away from this partially decomposed carcass.

"Police have erected a cordon around it and we are putting signs warning people to stay away.

A humpback whale off the Northumberland coast. Picture: Andrew Douglas, Serenity Boats.

"Further signs will be put up on the prom to advise people in the area to keep their dogs on leads and ensure they stay away from the whale.

“Because of the partial decomposition there is an unpleasant smell and we urge people not to visit the area until it has been removed.”

The whale had been floating in the sea off the coast for some two weeks.

Last month, it was spotted off the north Northumberland coast where local wildlife groups watched it.

Blyth beach.

Moira Redhead, of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Dolphin Watch, said: "It has been identified as the same whale that was widely spotted around Craster earlier this month.

"It’s a very sad end after it had given us so much joy.”

It has also been reported to the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP).

"I think it’s too badly decomposed for a necropsy,” said Moira. “Any gas build up that there was has gone and it’s pretty flat.

Spray from a humpback whale blowhole. Picture: Andrew Douglas, Serenity Boats.

"It’s obviously been dead in the sea for a period of time now and has clearly been scavenged.”

According to the Sea Watch Foundation the humpback whale is a “scarce species” in the North East, but the number of sightings has increased in 2019 and 2020.

If you spot a deceased whale ashore, contact the CSIP on 0800 6520333, which can investigate the reasons for its death.

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Deceased whale spotted floating in the sea off the Northumberland coast

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A humpback whale. Picture: Andrew Douglas, Serenity Boats.
The humpback whale washed up dead at Blyth. Picture: Andrew Douglas, Serenity Boats.