Dead whale remains under Pier 27

May 9, 2008 4:38:22 PM PDT
Federal and state officials along with marine biologists met in Moss Landing to decide on a way to free and dispose of a whale carcass trapped near Fisherman's Wharf.

It was determined that the Port of San Francisco has the responsibility and so now the Port has to decide how to remove the whale. They do have some problems with the difficult access - a marine scientist was having difficulty getting close to the carcass in order to even determine the cause of death. The whale is about 25 to 30 feet long.

In the mean time, the whale carcass seems to have turned into something of a tourist attraction. News of the whale brought the curious to Pier 27 - hoping to see the giant mammal. Some tourists from Seattle came to San Francisco for a girls' weekend and the whale was an unexpected attraction.

"It's unusual - every once in a while on the West Coast something will get beached up, sometimes it's a gray whale or orca. So I figured we'd check it out," said Anja Krider, tourist.

"Yeah, they have orcas that will come upon the beach or a gray whale I think they had once," said Krider.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA -- was unable to confirm what type of whale this is, its age, or gender. NOAA is deciding what to do next.

A local rowing club first spotted the whale Thursday morning. It is wedged between the pilings under the pier. The Coast Guard says it will assist as necessary to remove it.

"Because of the Marine Mammal Act and other laws, we are prohibited from touching or moving the animal unless directed and requested by NOAA," said Petty Ofc. Kevin Neff, U.S. Coast Guard.

Some people reported smelling the decaying whale, but Friday morning's high tide masked the odor. Eddie Babasa works at the Pier 23 Cafe adjacent to Pier 27.

"I've been waiting since yesterday because I wanted to see it. It's kind sad that it's just caught underneath the dock," said Babasa.

"You haven't smelled anything?" asked Tom.

"No, not yet," said Babasa.

The Port of San Francisco may consider bringing in the Army Corps of Engineers or using an outside contractor to remove the whale.


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