Fairhaven beach on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road has been closed after an 18-metre sperm whale carcass washed up on shore.
The whale carcass was spotted offshore late on Monday and washed up on the beach overnight.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning said crews were on site and an incident management team had been established.
The crews are still working out what to do with the carcass.
The beach has been temporarily closed between Fairhaven and Moggs Creek.
The VicEmergency website is warning people not to swim at the closed beach, after a reported shark sighting early on Tuesday.
“Due to a large whale carcass there has been an increase in shark activity reported at Fairhaven today,” the warning says.
“A whale carcass can attract sharks to the area and mean they are closer to the shore than normal.
“While it is not uncommon for sharks to be present off the Victorian coast, you should exercise additional caution in the area.
“Stay informed and do not enter the water at closed beaches.”
In 2018, another whale carcass washed up at Ocean Grove in an “advanced state of decomposition”.
At the time DELWP decided to bury the humpback whale carcass two metres deep in the sand.
It was later dug up and trucked more than four kilometres down the beach and taken to landfill, after locals raised fears that the oil and smell would leach into the water and attract sharks.