Everyone likes a shark tale - not a violent attack, of course - but a sighting.

The bigger the better, it seems, with a great white being top of the tree, or sea.

Our story about two Hawke's Bay fishermen who were shocked to discover the ocean's apex predator entangled in their cray pot off Waimarama beach has gone viral. It was, at the time of writing, the top story on our website (hbtoday.co.nz), and, by last night, had reached more than 62,000 people on our Facebook page. The national and international media also picked up the story, with it reaching the Daily Mail in the United Kingdom.

What is it that fascinates us about sharks?


The movie Jaws was the game-changer with everyone realising that there might be something lurking beyond the waves.

The graphic illustration of sharks in their darkest, most predatory moment installed widespread fear.

Whenever we write stories about sharks, we always get two reactions. The first is from readers who say they will never enter the sea again. And then there are those who berate us for portraying sharks as ruthless killers. The sharks are doing nothing wrong, they say. It is the fault of humans for entering the natural habitat of sharks. I reckon moderation is the best approach - somewhere between the two schools of thought lies the best approach to the situation. Unfortunately I have seen the aftermath of a rather vicious attack by a great white on two surfers at Nahoon Reef near East London on the East Coast of South Africa. It was in the early 1990s and I was one of the first journalists at the scene of an attack where one surfer was killed and another seriously injured. It was not a pleasant sight and the interview I did with the surviving surfer in hospital later remains vivid in my mind. But, it is not the shark's fault. Somehow we have to realise that sharks are in the ocean and we have to do everything we can to remain safe. Does it mean we should not go into the sea at Waimarama?

Absolutely not. Enjoy the summer, just keep safe.