An Auckland man is covered in blood and sustains minor injuries after a shark bites his arm on Papamoa Beach in the Bay of Plenty.
The attack – which the man described as a baby shark – came as the Department of Conservation (DoC) called for caution near Tauranga Harbor this weekend following several possible sightings of a great white shark.
“It freaked me out, luckily it didn’t stick, and by the time I surfaced it was gone,” the man told Stuff after the incident on Wednesday night. “I wiped the water from my eyes as soon as I penetrated the surface and when I did I felt like a huge stream of water, I assumed from the tail, a whip passed me.”
“I got to the beach and saw a man going into the water. I stopped him and explained what had happened. The two of us then took the other nine people out of the water – some kids too.”
He does not require hospital treatment, but the close encounter with a shark – an unknown species – comes as the Department of Conservation warns of a great white shark near Tauranga Harbor.
People should be alert and avoid swimming in the port’s main channel or fishing from kayaks and jet skis, the organization advises.
DoC marine technical advisor Clinton Duffy said communities need to remember that they share coastal waters with a number of different shark species.
“There are always sharks around our shoreline and sometimes they might get close to shore.”
He said there were several confirmed and unconfirmed great white shark sightings at Tauranga Port recently.
“It’s not unusual for them to be there, but when we visit the ocean, we need to be a little alert and aware of what’s going on around us. Swim where there are surf rescue patrols, and don’t swim or dive alone. “
Great white sharks are protected by the 1953 Wildlife Act and are illegal to hunt, kill or harm.
Other shark species that are protected in New Zealand include the basking shark, ocean whitetip, small tooth sandtiger and whale shark.