Metre long shark too close for comfort

By Lawrence Gullery

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A 1m shark which paid a visit to swimmers at Sandy Beach near Ahuriri is no cause for alarm, according to the Department of Conservation (DoC).

A Napier woman reported seeing the shark while looking after four children in a shallow part of the water yesterday afternoon.

She told the children to stand still while the shark swam by and around to rocks at the beach.

DoC's shark expert and marine species scientific officer, Clinton Duffy said a 1m shark was not a threat.

"They are not considered a risk until they get to about 1.8m long. That is the size when most species of sharks can do some harm if they really wanted to."

Mr Duffy said it was not unusual to see sharks close to shore during summer, especially around the Westshore areas which adjoined Sandy Beach. Some spotted in the past had been up to 3m long and included blue and hammerhead sharks.

Some of the "harmless" species normally around at this time of the year included school sharks, rig sharks or baby bronze whalers.

"The bronze whalers do pup in the Bay and could be expected to drop their pups in shallow water around about now. Pups are about 70cm to 80cm long when they are born.

"If you see a shark and you're a bit worried about it, the best thing to do is to get out of the water as quickly and calmly as possible without too much fuss."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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