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Rockport to bury whale carcass, after assist from Sandy

The town of Rockport has decided to bury the remains of a dead finback whale after Hurricane Sandy helped it drift farther down the coast instead of sending the carcass out to sea.

Now that the 55-foot finback has washed up on Cape Hedge Beach, about a mile from its last resting spot, it is more accessible for heavy equipment, said Joe Parisi, director of Rockport’s Public Works Department. Earlier in the month, when the carcass had been beached near a tall bluff, town officials had said they would not attempt to remove it.

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“We have a plan in place to have a scientist from the Mass. Division of Marine Fisheries to come in and take the bones, then we’ll bury the remaining pieces of the whale,” Parisi said.

Parisi said the cost of disposing of the whale will be insignificant because once the bones are removed, there is only loose blubber and flesh to bury.

But there is still curiosity about the whale, regardless of how much it has deteriorated.

“There were several people there taking pictures,” said Rockport resident June Wulff, who is also a Globe employee. “He’s really worse for wear.”

Once the whale has been cut up, public works employees will assist in moving the bones to a trailer before transporting the rest to an undisclosed burial spot a short distance from the beach, Parisi said.

Sarah N. Mattero can be reached at sarah.mattero@globe.com.
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