Great white sharks are a relatively common sight in New Zealand waters, but attacks are rare. PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

DOC says report shark and ray sightings

MARCUS ANSELM
Marcus.anselm@age.co.nz

Great white shark sightings in Wairarapa waters have experienced divers urging caution.

Mandy Emerson, who owns Masterton’s 02 Dive N Surf store, posted on the shop’s Facebook page after a reported sighting of three sharks in the White Rock and Tora areas.

“Please let friends and family know to be vigilant when next out diving?,” she said.

“There seems to be more frequent sightings around where seals are heavily populated, so we suggest staying away from these areas especially when water clarity is poor until hopefully they have passed through!”

Emerson’s husband, Tim, is a 29-year veteran professional paua diver.

She advised beach users to go back to the “101 of dive advice” and to “stay out of the water when visibility is not good, always take a dive buddy, and remember attacks are mistaken identity”.

Sharks are a common sight in New Zealand waters. They are attracted by seal colonies, such as at Castlepoint and Ngawi in Wairarapa. They can mistake swimmers in these areas for their usual prey.

Shark attacks are rare and deaths even more so, but experts urge caution.

According to the Department of Conservation, there have been 13 recorded fatal attacks in New Zealand waters.

The last was the 2013 death of Adam Hunter Strange at Muriwai Beach, near Auckland.

DOC advises sightings of unusual shark or ray species should be reported to their marine conservation section.

Anyone who makes a sighting should email sharks@doc.govt.nz, or call 0800 DOCHOT [0800 362 468] with details.