Hefty shark catch stuns beach-goer at Pauanui, Coromandel

A beach-goer says he was amazed to watch a group of young fishers haul in and release a "bloody great" bronze whaler shark.

Aucklander Simon List was walking along the shore at Pauanui in Coromandel today when he spotted the group pulling something in from the surf at the north end of the beach.

"One of them was wearing one of those big fisherman's belts, and I was thinking that was a bit overkill ... and then all this water started splashing," he said.

"We ran over there and could see this bloody great shark was there. It was incredible."

As List began filming the hefty catch on his phone, he said he was impressed at how calm the young people were as they set about releasing the hook from the shark's mouth, tagging it and setting it back into the sea.

"It literally would have been there for three or four minutes between getting it on to the sand and back ... but the main thing was how cool they were. There was no yelling, squawking or high fives afterwards ... it was like they were doing their job."

List, who has been holidaying in Pauanui for 20 years, said he'd never seen anything like it before.

"Normally you'd be running around like an idiot, but these guys weren't."

List believed the shark would have measured around 2.5 metres long.

NIWA's principal scientist for fisheries, Dr Malcolm Francis, said the shark would not have been harmed if it was handled properly and released quickly.

"Sharks are fairly hardy.

"There are a lot of fisherman around who catch sharks accidentally. I just encourage everyone to release them as quickly as possible when they catch them."

It came after two young fishermen in a kayak hauled in a large bronze whaler, estimated to weigh as much as 150 kilograms, at Waihi Beach on New Year's Eve.

The kayakers, thought to be in their early 20s, spent about an hour bringing in the shark, before they let it go.

- NZ Herald

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