A group of fishermen in New Zealand recently spotted a great white, and they assert that the shark is stalking the waters off Kaikoura.
The three fishermen were whitebaiting at the Kahutara river, according to the Marlborough Express, when they sighted the great white just 100 meters off the coast. According to the men, they observed the shark patrolling along the shore, amid a season in which fish gather at the mouths of rivers in order to feed.
The shark was up to 5.5 meters long, with a dorsal fin that measured about 46 centimeters. The fishermen originally thought it was a basking shark, until they saw the great white attack a seal last Thursday, reportedly tossing the prey animal around.
“We’re not half-wits, we know a shark when we see one,” one of the men said. “Definitely a great white. The triangular fin with a white tip, not an orca, we’re not mistaken.”
— White Shark Africa (@WhiteSharkZA) November 10, 2014
While great whites are no strangers to New Zealand, as Shark Dive NZ notes, some local residents are skeptical of the sighting. Nigel Elson, co-owner of Dive Kaikoura, related that he has logged more than 2000 dives and never encountered a shark, let alone a great white.
“I’m fairly skeptical,” he asserted. “They don’t float around here until January or February.”
Elson also noted that a shark diving business in the area shuttered its doors 13 years ago, as there were too few sharks to reliably observe.
— Calypso Star Charter (@sharkcagediving) November 11, 2014
Earlier this year, a team of divers filming great whites off New Zealand lost their camera, when two of the predators struck the equipment. A 360 degree GoPro scuba rig ended up on the bottom of the ocean after the shark’s exploratory bite separated the camera from its handle. The company responsible for filming has since offered a $5,000 reward for the return of the rig, as the Inquisitr previously noted.
— Britannia PR (@Britanniacomms) November 2, 2014
Despite some skepticism, local tour operators confirmed the presence of great whites in the region. Dolphin Encounter tour operator Dennis Buurman related that prior reports of large sharks had been made in the area, while Shark Dive NZ owner-operator Peter Scott observed that sightings can sometimes be exaggerated.
“Every shark is a great white and they’re always 20-feet long,” he noted.
[Image via Twitter/Sharkingaround]