Shark warning: Florida Beach swimmers advised to stay out

“We are concerned about predation,” a Mote official said.

VENICE, Fla. — Swimmers are advised to stay out of the water for another day on Tuesday at Venice Beach and locations south as sharks may be present.

The no-swim advisory issued Monday by the City of Venice Emergency Management comes as a sperm whale beached over the weekend on the Sarasota County shoreline. It’s in effect from the beach south to include Service Club Park, Sharky’s on the Pier and Casperson Beach.

Wildlife officials have been working to perform a necropsy to determine the cause of death. That involves teams of people cutting into the animal and peeling back parts of whale blubber. Ultimately, several tests will be performed on the whale. 

In the meantime, the work performed on the whale carcass along the shoreline could attract animals that may be looking to feast.

“We are concerned about predation. There will be a lot of bloody fluid going into the water, so we really want to keep people safe so from here south, we really strongly advise people stay out of the water,” said Gretchen Lovewell, the stranding investigations program manager at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium.

Laura Engleby, Chief of NOAA’s Southeast Marine Mammal Branch, earlier in the day said the whale is estimated to be around 70,000 pounds and most likely an adult, given its size and length. Engleby also said the sperm whale was noticeably thin and underweight.

“It’s a rare event,” Engleby said. “Obviously, this whale wasn’t feeling very well and wasn’t doing very well to be this close to shore and in this kind of condition.”

Once the necropsy is complete, crews plan to tow the whale out into the Gulf at high tide where its body will be released, she said.

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