The sperm whale at South Ballina.
The sperm whale at South Ballina. Javier Encalada

Operation to move huge whale off beach fails

IT'S no small task to remove a 17m sperm whale from a remote beach.

That was the challenge facing authorities at South Ballina today.

The whale died in shallow water at Patchs Beach on Friday afternoon and today work started in an effort to move the whale off the beach.

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) - Crown Lands, NSW National Parks and Wildlife and Soil Conservation Service in Ballina have all been involved in the process.

It is estimated the whale carcass weighs around 60 tonnes.

"Arranging suitable equipment for such a large whale in a remote area is difficult, but the department is working closely with staff on the ground to have the carcass removed as quickly as possible," a DPIE spokeswoman said.

It is understood the whale could not be moved today.

Efforts to remove it will resume tomorrow, during favourable tides.