Muriwai shark most likely a great white
Thu, 28 Feb 2013 10:13a.m.
By Dan Satherley
A shark expert says yesterday's fatal attack at Muriwai Beach was most likely carried out by a great white, not a bronze whaler as some reports have claimed.
Adam Strange, 46, died yesterday afternoon after being attacked by a shark witnesses said was about 4m long.
Craig Thorburn, senior curator at Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium in Mission Bay, says the great white is the only shark found in New Zealand waters capable of attacking and killing a human being.
"New Zealand's pretty lucky – we've got about 62 species of shark that swim around our coasts," says Mr Thorburn.
"In reality, there is only large shark that's capable and behaves in such a way that would take on an animal the size of a person, which is a great white shark.
He says bronze whalers stick to eating fish, small sharks and rays, and "wouldn't be involved in an attack on a large mammal".
"It is most likely it was a great white shark swimming in that area. They're common in that area, so it would make sense."
The attack happened only 200m from the shore, but despite their size, Mr Thorburn said this wouldn't be a problem for great whites.
"Great whites, most sharks in fact, are quite comfortable in shallow water. That's not particularly a factor."
The good news is the shark – and any others that assisted it in the attack – are probably long gone from Muriwai Beach.
"They may hang at a food source for a couple of days, but in these situations, and particularly on our north and western beaches, they are likely to be transient – there was a one-off incident and I kind of agree that yeah, that shark is most likely to have moved well on by now."
Since records began in 1852 there have been 45 recorded shark attacks in New Zealand waters, 12 of which were fatal, including yesterday's incident.
"They're swimming around our coast all the time, and they have been doing this for decades, hundreds of years," says Mr Thorburn.
Muriwai Beach will remain closed today and tomorrow as authorities try to confirm of there any sharks still in the area. Piha, North Piha and Bethells beaches are all still open.
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5/03/2013 8:26:11 p.m.
I read somewhere that bronze whaler is a term used in differing countries referring to deferent species of sharks. Given the number of bronzies around swimmers every year it here I think the experts opinion of great white makes more sence - despite the report which I suspect would b difficult to prove.
28/02/2013 10:21:34 p.m.
The DR wrote:
So now our police can shoot a endangered protected species
28/02/2013 11:17:05 a.m.
this guy needs to google "bronze whaler attack", they most certainly do attack people sorry mr expert
28/02/2013 11:01:42 a.m.
Matt Paulin wrote:
Possibly. It is just very bad luck, wrong place wrong time. There are over 360 species of shark, only about 5-7 of which are dangerous. You have nearly 5x the chance of being killed by lightning as you do of shark attack. Sharks have more to fear from us!
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