The stretch of Northern NSW Coast beach between Kingscliff and Cabarita is rapidly earning a reputation as a major hot-spot for shark activity.

Yesterday afternoon a dead whale washed up on the beach at Casuarina, just to the North of Cabarita. Several sharks were seen feeding on the carcass as it washed towards the beach on the popular stretch of surf coast.

The arrival of the dead cetacean prompted local authorities and surf clubs to issue warnings about the likely presence of sharks. They also closed the beaches at Salt, Casuarina, Cabarita, Hastings, North Pottsville and South Pottsville.

This morning the typically busy lineup at Cabarita was empty, save two brave souls who were happy to run the gauntlet.

The whale carcass incident comes in the wake of a recent incident where a foil boarder was knocked from his board at Cabarita Point by a large Great White. In early June, surfer Rob Pedretti was fatally attacked on the same stretch of beach.

“It’s in the back of your mind all the time now,” suggested local surfer Damian Martin. “I use to go and hunt the empty peaks along the beach, but now I don’t even think about it and stick to the point.”

The growing number of dead whales washing up on East Coast shores has popularised a new term – 'biohazard'. Disposing of the giant sea creatures is a challenge for authorities who have to either tow them out to sea and let them sink or bury them. The third alternative is to allow the sharks to do the work, feeding off a carcass until it has been stripped. While perhaps the most natural solution this option places swimmers and surfers at a higher level of risk. 

As the number of migrating whales increases on the east coast, it's likely that dealing with dead whales will become a more frequent problem for coastal authorities.