Great White Shark Spotted In Surf At Shipwreck Bay

A great white shark has been spotted lurking near Shipwreck Bay in New Zealand, at times swimming into the surf zone, just meters away from the shore of the popular North Island beach.

The white shark was tagged in Kaipara Harbor last month by Department of Conservation shark expert Clinton Duffy, and its presence in Ahipara has been verified by a signal from its tag. At just over two-meters-long and weighing 110 kg, the juvenile shark is small by great white standards, though it could still prove dangerous to beachgoers. Appearing to have taken up residence in the area, the shark spends most of its time three to four kilometers offshore between Ahipara and Herekino.

“Though she’s been right into the surf zone at Shipwreck Bay at least once,” Duffy observed.

New Zealand’s upper North Island is a global hotspot for white sharks, and Duffy noted that there are relatively few attacks given how common great whites are in the area. Beachgoers were largely unfazed by the news that a white shark was in the region, showing little concern that they were sharing the ocean with the predator.

Auckland resident Hamish Don asserted that sharks are incredible animals, sharing his belief that there is little to be feared by locals.

“There’s a resident shark at Henderson Bay that doesn’t bother people. They’re probably too well fed up here to be a worry,” he noted.

The shark was one of eight juveniles tagged by Duffy in Kaipara Harbor last month, in what is considered to be the largest gathering of great whites ever seen in New Zealand. Three more sharks were spotted and tagged the next day, allowing researchers to document their movements.

Electrician Barry Jordan hooked a great white on the same day that Duffy documented eight sharks, noting a tag that allowed researchers to trace the animal to the Neptune Islands off the South Australian coast. The find was unusual, as white sharks have not been known to often travel from South Australia to New Zealand waters, which are thought to be a breeding area and nursery for the species.

Great whites have been spotted several other times recently in New Zealand. A 4.5-meter-long white shark was observed last month in Waitemata Harbor, while another great white, described as “big as a tractor,” was documented leaping out of the water at Leigh.

[Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]

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