12 Jan 2015

Shark sightings hyped - biologist

12:55 pm on 12 January 2015

A shark biologist is putting the rising number of recorded shark sightings down to more communication of sightings via smartphones and modern technology.

Reef sharks.

Photo: Don Silcock / Cultura Creative

Four separate shark sightings were reported off the east coast of the North Island at the weekend.

One included some bronze whalers, photographed in the waves at Papamoa in the Bay of Plenty.

Riley Eliot, who is completing his PhD at the University of Auckland, said modern technology was allowing people to communicate any sightings more easily.

"Our observed increases are very much media-hyped and opinion-based and the fact that we have more iPhones these days and can record this stuff."

Mr Eliott said the sharks at Papamoa were probably just letting the waves help them breathe while they were digesting their food.

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