Minke whale washes up on beach

minke whale Lowestoft

Sightseers are being told to stay away after a minke whale was washed up at Lowestoft. - Credit: Denise Bradley

A minke whale has been washed up dead on a beach.

The mammal was found on Thursday morning (January 21) close to  the lifeguard station on South Beach at Lowestoft. 

It is said to be around 4.6m long (15ft).
The whale is due to be taken away today or tomorrow, and people are being reminded they should only leave their homes for essential reasons.

A Coastguard spokesman said they were alerted at 7.15am and the local team was at the beach assessing the situation and advising the public to stay away.

minke whale at Lowestoft

A minke whale has washed up dead on the beach at Lowestoft and will be disposed of by the local authority. - Credit: Martin Goodman

He said the team had made an initial report and handed the information to the Receiver of Wrecks.

The Natural History Museum had been informed but on this occasion, because of the coronavirus pandemic, would not be performing an autopsy.

Minke whale at Lowestoft

A minke whale sealed off with coastguard tape after it was washed up at Lowestoft. - Credit: Denise Bradley

The spokesman added that it was up to the local authority to dispose of the animal.

Coastguard station officer at Lowestoft Claire Hall said the team was stood down at around 11am.

She said minke whales were normal for the North Sea, whereas the discovery of a rare Sowerby’s beaked whale washed up on North Beach in August last year caused more of a stir because it was out of habitat.

Minke whale at Lowestoft

A 15ft minke whale is due to be removed from the beach at Lowestoft after it was washed up on Thursday, January 21. - Credit: Denise Bradley

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Martin Goodman, who lives nearby, said he saw the drama unfold.

He said it was a privilege to see the magnificent animal and that there was speculation it could have been tossed ashore by rough seas.

He added that ideally the whale should be returned to the water where it would provide food for marine life for several years.

A spokesman for East Suffolk Council said: “Our partners East Suffolk Norse have arranged for the whale to be removed by a specialist company later today or tomorrow.

“We appreciate people may be interested in the whale but we would urge people to remember they are being asked to stay at home and only go out for essential reasons.”

Minke whale Lowestoft

The minke whale washed up at South Beach at Lowestoft after Storm Christoph. Jogger Jamie Miller from Pakefield taking a closer look at the whale. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Suffolk Police were also called to the scene.

The minke whale is found throughout the oceans of the northern hemisphere.

They are gulp feeders and can live for up to 50 years.