Baby Whites

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    Posted: 25 Nov 2021 at 3:15pm
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Pcj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2021 at 3:16pm
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Always sad to see an endangered animal dead. Especially a baby. Even if it is a fear for many people. This baby Great White washed up dead on Omaha beach. While it's hard from just a photo to determine the cause, a recent NIWA report highlighted that 53 juvenile and sub-adult Great White sharks were killed as bycatch in commercial set net fisheries over the past 8 years in NZ. We have also seen a large increase in the number caught by recreational fishers using longlines and surfcasters in this NE region. What's clear, is there seems to be more interaction between us and them in a region where it was historically rare. This is likely due to conservation efforts, both for them, and the ecosystem they rely on. It is a good sign to see an apex predator seemingly re-colonising historic pupping grounds, however when these happen to be our summer hotspots, it's tough on the sharks and people.
Bowentown last summer was a major hotspot for unknown reasons, it was also the location of a tragic fatality of a swimmer, and of a juvenile great white. For these reasons I have tried to begin a research study, tagging the sharks, and taking tissue samples to see what prey sources may be driving them into these areas. This is however waiting on a permit to be issued by DOC, which is in process, but highly unlikely to occur before we all go on summer holiday.
Given the mass exodus of post covid lockdown kiwis from Auckland who will inhabit this region soon, and all the locals who live in these places, I urge people to be aware that the ocean is where sharks live - it seems obvious but many of us are still surprised when we see one. To avoid adverse interactions, don't swim where people are fishing or baiting the water for fish. And if you see a Great White, realise that it's illegal to disturb, harass or harm one. That includes baiting them in, which also encourages dangerous behaviour. If you catch one by accident, keep it in the water and remove the hook asap. If you can't safely or swiftly remove the hook, just cut the line close to the hook as the priority is getting the shark back in the water. The quickest way is to drag it by the tail, into deeper water, but remember it cannot breathe while you do it, but it's the quickest and safest way to return it to the sea. They often beach themselves again, so try and assist it. Ensure to report this to DOC as it is a legal requirement. And do not try and catch them on purpose as that is highly illegal.
At the end of the day, there's clearly a new phase of juvenile Great Whites utilising likely historic pupping grounds again, which also happen to be our favourite summer hotspots. Without knowledge of their habitat use and behaviour, we are entering the water without the ability to choose our risk profile for which we are taking in order to enjoy water activities. Great Whites do not hunt people, but if we overlap with them and act in ways and in conditions that can encourage mistakes, then these mistakes can happen. They are 500 times less likely than drowning, but they can still occur.
I am planning to connect with the Bowentown Boating and Fishing Club to offer a public Q&A in the next few weeks, because without the ability to do research for the start of this summer, I feel the next best thing is to have a conversation with those people who live and or holiday in this region.
The end goal overall is to ensure the Kiwi attitude of embracing and co-existing with nature continues.
If you see or document a Great White this summer please send me a description and any photos/video to [email protected] as I am compiling a photo ID data base so we can do passive science in the meantime.
Cheers so much
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote tjm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2021 at 4:26pm
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Apparently there are more of these around NZ waters than normal for the time of year, if that's a baby I would hate to come across its mum 
Cant beat hunting and Fishing in N.Z
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2021 at 7:31pm
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Pretty hard to get a perspective on it like that TJM, I have only seen 3. One was about 1200 long. The only live one I've seen was in the 1500 to 2000mm size and a dead one around the same size. I've seen hooks used to catch whites back in the day and they are HUGE! I know people who have hooked them from a boat (unanchored!) And land based. Spoolings were the order of the day in both cases. Both of those were from guys that have caught big bronzies in the Manukau Harbour - one is a member of these forums and the other a personal friend - as is the other guy. I know those stories to be true
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote kimber7wsm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 2021 at 6:33am
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Personally I feel it's due to the protection status working and having the population rise(as mentioned in the article above). Nature at work. Good stuff, unless you're the poor sod, they mistake for food.

I've heard plenty of sightings in the Bowentown end of the harbour recently.

I haven't seen one yet, but did have 3m bronzie sitting behind the boat the entire time I was fishing in the harbour the other day. Didn't do much for the catch rate!!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Phantom Menace Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 2021 at 8:33am
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Saw some pics of the one on Omaha Beach posted on FB by Herbie (spearo forum member from ages ago).  His young fella was having a good look at it.  From memory he said it was around 2 - 2.5m long (so a baby).

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 2021 at 2:34pm
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Probably more whitey biteys around than we realise. There are well known hotspots all around NZ, as well as east coast Aussie which is well within their migration range.

Once upon a time, I would have given anything to see one. Even had an unsuccessful visit to Bluff. Now, older and wiser, not so sure and certainly not on a low visibility harbour scallop dive!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Pcj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 2021 at 3:09pm
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Originally posted by MB MB wrote:

 not so sure and certainly not on a low visibility harbour scallop dive!
HaHa wheres your sense of adventure?? same place as mine in wifes handbag.
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