31 Jan 2019

Great white shark spotted close to shore in Taranaki

10:39 am on 31 January 2019

It's not just fishermen and families enjoying the water this summer, a great white shark has been seen close to shore at White Cliffs in Taranaki.

Two fishermen filmed the shark swimming close to the bottom of one of the cliffs and attacking their bag of burley.

Shark expert Clinton Duffy from the Department of Conservation told Morning Report spotting a great white shark in the area wasn't rare.

"It's not as uncommon as many people would think, especially on the Taranaki coast. There are sightings all along that coast throughout most of the year."

He said the shark wasn't acting out of the ordinary.

"Sharks feed on fish and it was simply scavenging. It's the sort of behaviour you would expect from a shark."

That wasn't the 6m-long Taranaki Terror though. The one seen was around 3m-long, meaning it was still a juvenile.

There are great white sharks around most of the coastline, he said.

"They probably see us more frequently than we see them," particularly in places like the West Coast where the water is murky.

"If you see a shark, unless you have some experience, you should just get out of the water as quickly and quietly as you can. You're trying not to draw attention to yourself," he advises.

"Generally, it's possible to safely swim with most species of shark."

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