A 2.7-metre female juvenile great white shark has washed up on Orewa beach after getting caught in a fishing net.

Department of Conservation (DoC) marine scientist Clinton Duffy said the shark was caught in a gill net that was set off the beach.

"The people who found it in the net tried to revive it, as it is protected, but it was too late," Duffy told the Herald.

It comes after Orewa beach was closed on Monday following a sighting of two large sharks about 200m offshore.


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About a hundred people gathered around to see the shark with some attempting to return her to the ocean.

"It looked pretty sick and unwell, it wasn't lashing or thrashing about and it had a bit of blood coming from its mouth," one beachgoer told Stuff.

Duffy said it was not uncommon to see great white sharks in the area, along with hammerheads and bronze whaler sharks.

"There tends to be more sightings of sharks during the summer period simply because more people out on the water but that doesn't mean there are more sharks," Duffy said.

A photo of the shark was posted on a Facebook community page, reeling in hundreds of comments from people.

Many expressed sadness, with one person saying "Put it back" and another saying "How sad, leave them alone."

Police are at the beach and have sectioned the area off.


Duffy stressed most sharks are harmless and are not interesting in eating people, especially sharks under three metres long.

Though he recommended anyone who spotted a shark to get out of the water as quickly as they could.

He said great whites tended to travel alone while bronze whalers and hammerhead sharks often stick together in pods.

"It's very common to see big numbers of them along the coast, they come inshore and hang around to feed on things like mullet and snapper in the summer".

Duffy said bronze whalers were not considered dangerous but can behave aggressively towards spearfishing.

"The ones in the Gulf in particular have become very very habituated to spearfishers.

"Some have even learnt the sound of a gun and it's very common for them to show up immediately looking for speared fish and they will occasionally bite divers when they are competing for the fish."

Most great whites seen in the area are below the size that they start feeding on mammals, which is under three metres, so while they are potentially still dangerous, because of the size of their power and teeth, they are less so due to their size, Duffy said.

"Hammerheads are no concern at all because they have very small teeth so couldn't hurt you."

What do you do if you spot a shark and don't know if they are dangerous or not?

• The golden rule is if you see a shark get out of the water as quickly as possible. Sharks are not like a fly where if you stay still they will go away.

• Don't wave your hands about as they can identify you as looking distressed.

• Ignore the myth of punching a shark in the nose, you are better to go for the gill or an eye. This can give you more time to get away.

• Don't grab a shark by the tail as it can swing around to bite you.

• If a shark starts circling you that's a sign they are getting ready to attack - so get out of the water as quickly as possible.