California

How Many Government Agencies Does It Take To Dispose of a Beached Whale?

Jurisdictional questions abound over a beached whale in Malibu

|

is anyone here a marine biologist?

Feels like a trick question. A forty thousand pound, forty foot long dead whale washed ashore in Malibu on Monday, and is still there four days later. Government officials aren't sure what to do about it or, for that matter, who should be doing it. From the LA Times:

The lifeguards stationed at the beach said they were game [to deal with the beached whale], but weren't sure what to do. The city of Malibu said the county would probably take care of it, but the county insisted Little Dume is a private beach, which it is not. Then local officials said the state might take care of it, but the nearest state property appeared to be nearly a mile to the southwest.

"There have been some issues with jurisdiction," said Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Quvondo Johnson.

Los Angeles Fire County Inspector Tony Imbrenda, meanwhile, tells local TV station KTLA that there will be meetings with beaches and harbors and that LA county lifeguard personnel are "going to formulate a plan to remove this whale from the beach." What that plan is, KTLA reports, is unknown, with the "pretty significant state of decomposition" making towing the whale back into the ocean no longer a possibility. It'll be days before the whale might be disposed of.

State officials were able to find out what happened to the fin whale, an endangered species. They cut it up and determined it was hit by a boat.