A fisherman is recovering in hospital after being bitten by a shark he had just caught.

Emergency services were called to the Coromandel yesterday afternoon after the man, in his 30s, was bitten by a 1.5m mako shark.

"The guy thought it was dead and he was in the process of cutting its head off and gutting it," a spokeswoman for the Westpac Auckland Rescue Helicopter service said.

"He was on a boat and he was just ... gutting it and it thrashed about and it got his foot."

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It is not yet known how the man and his vessel made it to land but an ambulance transferred him to Tairua, where he was picked up by the rescue helicopter.

The man - who suffered lacerations to one of his feet - was airlifted to Middlemore Hospital in a moderate condition.