Hungry sharks are feared to be flocking to a whale carcass rotting near a beach popular with surfers.
The Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) in Australia issued a “Dangerous Animal” warning for Big Beach near Mallacoota on Wednesday as environment and wildlife authorities monitor a dead whale that could be a catalyst for shark attacks.
A giant corpse is likely to attract apex predators from the ocean and so beachgoers have been advised to avoid the area so as to not get in their way and be mistaken for prey.
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"You should exercise additional caution until the whale has decomposed," visitors to the long sandy strip are being warned by the VFA.
"Stay informed and do not enter the water at closed beaches. Any shark over 2m in length is considered dangerous," the advice message continues.
The warning follows a white humpback whale washing up onto a sand bar, accessible only by water, 1km from Mallacoota earlier this month.
The advice, issued for Big Beach near Mallacoota, says: "Due to a whale carcass there could be an increase in shark activity. Department of Environment Land Water and Planning Wildlife Officers are monitoring the whale."
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The warning goes on to tell beach visitors what to do if they spot something in the water.
"If you see a shark report the shark sighting by calling Triple Zero (000) or notify lifesavers immediately if you are at a patrolled beach," it reads.
Meanwhile, there is also guidance for visitors to other beaches in the area.
It says: "Always swim, dive or surf with a friend [and] swim between the red and yellow flags on patrolled beaches.
"Don't swim in places where human or animal waste enters the water. Don’t remain in the water with bleeding wounds.
"Keep away from large schools of fish, seals or other wildlife as these can attract sharks."
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