A DEAD whale has washed up on a beach in Port Stephens.
Port Stephens Council was forced to close One Mile Beach and parts of Samurai on Wednesday morning after the carcass came ashore on Tuesday.
“We have closed One Mile Beach until further notice due to a large decomposed whale carcass washing up and a risk of increased shark activity,” a statement from Port Stephens Council read.
“Please stay safe - we'll let you know when the beach opens again.”
The National Parks and Wildlife Service has been called in to deal with the removal.
Nelson Bay NPWS area manager Andrew Bond said subject to weather and tides, the carcass would be removed on Thursday.
“We will be bringing in heavy equipment for removal tomorrow, until then the beaches will remain closed,” he said.
“We would normally look into how the animal died, but it is badly decomposed which makes this problematic.”
The carcass, believed to be a 10-plus metre semi-mature sperm whale, weighs more than three tonnes.
It washed up onto the northern end of One Mile Beach near rocks.
Anna Bay surfers Nev Gear, Peter Mahafey and John Nelson arrived at One Mile Beach on Wednesday morning to get a closer look at the dead whale.
They believed the carcass had been in the water for some time before washing up onto the sand.
“I have been surfing here for more than 30 years and this is the first time I have seen a beached whale on this beach,” Mr Gear said.
“There was a similar incident a couple of years ago at Rocky Point, a little further north but this is an overwhelming sight on One Mile.
“I don’t think I will be surfing around these parts for a few days.”
Sperm whales can grow to a maximum length of 18m for males and 12m for females, with a maximum weight of 57,000kg.
The southern whale migration is currently under way and takes place from August to mid-November. During this time mothers and newborn calves make their way past the Hunter’s coastline and back down to Antarctica.
By the time they reach the waters off Port Stephens for the return journey the whales are more than double the size from when they were born.