Shark grabs share of fishermen's fish supper

By Jacqueline Smith

A group of Auckland fishermen weren't the only ones trying to catch a fish supper off the coast of Kawau Island.

Malcolm Frith of Manurewa was out with two friends when a powerful shark "as long as a station wagon" began competing for the catch on their line.

His friend Dave Brewer was dangling his feet in the water when he saw the shark glide past, barely a metre from his toes.

It was the first large shark Mr Frith, 33, had seen. And because it had a white belly and black back, he could not rule out the possibility it was a Great White.

Mr Frith said it hung around the boat for about an hour as the men fished last Thursday, and ate many of their snapper before they could land them.

It then threw itself at their 1kg berley bag, which was about 3m away from the boat and 1m under the water.

It began thrashing its head from side to side as it devoured the contents, Mr Frith said.

"It was pretty fearsome. You could see what it would do to a human."

The shark then came towards the boat and Mr Frith photographed it as it stared straight at the fishermen, the berley spilling from its mouth.

Experts at Auckland's Kelly Tarlton's aquarium said it was difficult to judge the species of shark from the photo, but it was most likely a mako, which were commonly seen at this time of year.

* The likely suspects

Great White: Star of the Jaws movie franchise. Usually dark grey to black, with a white underbelly. Great Whites can grow up to 7m in length and are responsible for most unprovoked shark attacks on humans.

Short-fin mako: Coloured indigo, with a white belly. Grows to about 4m in length, and can leap up to 6m out of the water. Has been known to attack boats, or land in them when hooked.

Source: Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

- NZ Herald

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