A Bryde's whale found dead at Poutawa Beach, near Pakiri, was killed by a ship strike.
The 15.3 metre long male Bryde's whale was found on the beach on Friday (September 12). A necropsy was completed late on Saturday (September 13). It showed that the whale died from severe trauma after being struck by a vessel.
The Bryde's whale found at Poutawa Beach
A representative of Ngati Manuhiri blessed the whale before it was buried at the beach after the necropsy.
The Hauraki Gulf / Tipaka Moana is a particularly important habitat for Bryde's whales, containing one of the few known resident populations in the world. There are fewer than 200 Bryde's whales either resident or passing through the Gulf.
There have now been 44 recorded fatalities of Bryde's whales in the greater Hauraki Gulf since 1989. Twenty of these dead whales were examined, and it was found that 17 died as the result of a ship strike.
In September last year (2013), Ports of Auckland announced a transit protocol for large vessels using the Gulf.
The protocol urges ship masters to: plan passage through the Gulf so they can travel at a recognised safe speed of 10 knots; keep watch for whales and report sightings.
Department of Conservation Director of Partnerships for Auckland, Meg Poutasi says DOC is working with Ports of Auckland, shipping interests, scientists and environmental groups to raise awareness of, and compliance with, the protocol.