A dead bronze whaler shark which washed ashore at Stanley Bay beach, on Auckland's North Shore, has been recovered by the Department of Conservation and taken to Massey University.

The female shark will be examined by university researchers, data and samples contributing to understanding more about the animal.

DoC shark scientist Clinton Duffy told the Herald bronze whalers are common around the upper North Island but little is known about their biology.

"Data and samples collected will contribute understanding age, growth, reproduction, diet and potentially diseases affecting this species," he said.

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"Although one of our most common large inshore sharks very little is known of its biology."

Photos of the shark were posted to a Devonport social media group, with comments that it had washed up on Stanley Bay beach on Sunday.

The shark was taken to Massey University to be studied to learn more about the species' biology. Photo / Priscilla Collins
The shark was taken to Massey University to be studied to learn more about the species' biology. Photo / Priscilla Collins

The sharks live in shallow coastal waters during the summer – reefs, bays, estuaries and surf beaches - and in winter are found further offshore.

They are not normally aggressive towards humans, although spearfishers have been bitten by excited sharks.

"This species is not usually aggressive towards humans but can become so if harassed or stimulated by fish offal or struggling or bleeding fish," Duffy said.

"They're very common all around the upper North Island, including places like Waitemata Harbour. It's not uncommon to see them washed ashore or stranded after being caught in fishing gear.

"They are not a target commercial species but are occasionally caught accidentally in set nets and on longlines. A small number of sport fishers target them, generally for catch and release."

As the name suggests, bronze whalers are bronze to grey-brown in colour.

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Duffy said the shark was around 3m long and would weigh between 180kg and more than 200kg depending on its condition.

Bronze whalers are opportunistic eaters which means they will eat live or dead animal matter. They mainly eat small schooling fish such as kahawai.