Beachgoers watch shark feast

By Sonya Bateson

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A two-metre-long shark has created a rare spectacle feeding close to shore.

Mount Maunganui local Alex Dive went to the beach about 10.30am on Friday to meet friends for a surf, but ended up dragging a kingfish carcass into the water for a shark.

"It was pretty crazy," Mr Dive said.

"I went down to the beach to see my mate, he said there was a shark so I went down for a look and it was right there. I think it was a five to six-foot bronze whaler, close to two metres long. It might have smelt a kingfish carcass right near the water."


He said the shark had been seen swimming around the same stretch of beach since about 9am, but it kept returning to the same point, probably because of the carcass.

"I went into the water and dragged the kingi in. The shark started attacking the carcass."

Mr Dive said there had been about 20 people on the beach watching the shark and quite a few had taken photos.

"I was quite excited. It was a bit of an adrenalin rush. It was so shallow, you just don't expect to see one that shallow. My mate was going to paddle right next to it but didn't realise how big it was."

Mr Dive said while he had seen several sharks during his surfing forays, he had never seen one so close to the beach before.

"I surf heaps. I'm always in the water. Lately I've seen quite a few sharks. I saw one not so long ago swimming around and my mate saw one yesterday. There was even one in Hunters Creek - there's just so many at the moment. They're always out there. You just don't notice them. This one's unusual because it came in so close."


 


 


He said while sharks would often come close to shore when they were sick or injured, this shark appeared to be healthy and had been energetically splashing around.

Mr Dive said he didn't want people to panic about the shark sighting as bronze whalers were a common sight and he had never heard of one attacking a human before.

Mount Maunganui Surf Club general manager Glenn Bradley said the club hadn't received any official reports of shark sightings in the area.

He said it wasn't unheard of to see sharks in the area, but it wasn't common.

"Bronze whalers in particular are likely to be seen around that surf zone. I think we probably got two or three reports of sightings this summer."

Mr Bradley said if people saw a shark while swimming, they were advised to calmly but quickly make their way to shore and if possible, to alert other swimmers.

He said he also asked swimmers to stay between lifeguard flags and reminded people the Bay of Plenty lifeguard season had ended last week but there would still be volunteer patrols each weekend until April.

Department of Conservation shark expert Clinton Duffy said while he couldn't be sure, the shark appeared to be a bronze whaler, a species of shark that was quite common in shallow waters.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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