Stranding of whales at Farewell Spit cost DOC around $50k, figures reveal

The stranding of more than 400 whales at Farewell Spit last month cost the Department of Conservation tens of thousands of dollars.

It follows heartbreak earlier as whales that couldn't be refloated were euthanised. Source: 1 NEWS

Information released to 1 NEWS under the Official Information Act show the response over three days cost the government department $49,000.

The first stranding saw more than 400 beached on Farewell Spit on the 10th of February, nearly 200 beached at Puponga Bay the following day and smaller strandings over the next few days.

Around 300 whales could be left to decompose in the marine environment, instead of being allowed to drift out to sea. Source: Breakfast

Costs included additional staffing, contractors and equipment use.

The cost for extra staffing involved in the response was $34,500. In addition, the cost of burying carcasses, including diggers, cost nearly $14,000.

DoC eventually opted to move the carcasses from the first stranding by bulldozer, as the decaying carcasses became a health hazard.

Some whale carcasses washed up on beaches around the Nelson/Tasman region and as far away as the lower North Island.

More could wash up, which means the cost could rise due to the need of disposing the carcasses.

The stranding, and subsequent smaller stranding in the following days, was the largest in the area in recent memory and one of the largest in recorded history.