THE Fisheries Department is warning villagers of Navutulevu in Serua to stop selling the bones of a sperm whale found floating dead in Navutulevu harbour on September 23.
Saras Sharma-Gounder of the research department said they received several reports of villagers making money from the sale of parts of the carcass.
"The sale of any derivative of a sperm whale is illegal without being registered first and approval sought from the Department of Environment under the Endangered Species and Protected Act," she said.
"Any tabua should have been handed over to the Department of Environment but that has not been the case as well."
Navutulevu Village headman Esika Tubainavatu said they did not know the sale of the whale's bones was illegal.
"Most of the whale's teeth were missing when the villagers got to it, we think that resulted from the strong current that swept the dead whale from the open sea into the harbour," he said.
Mrs Sharma-Gounder said they were working on discussing the Draft Whale and Dolphin Management Plan which also looked at beaching and stranding protocols and procedures, which she said were not clear to the general public as yet.
Mrs Sharma-Gounder said they were aware that the villagers had burnt the carcass but were also looking into burying the remains.
"They were looking at burying as pieces keep on floating up, which will be the case for a while as it is rotting away and breaking into pieces.
"On the health issues the fat (blubber) that is released from a dead whale will end up killing coral and destroying the habitat there, not to mention the strong stench."