Surf lifesavers are urging caution on beaches in the Bay of Plenty with sharks estimated to be 6-8 feet long sighted at Papamoa, Omanu and at Waihi over the last two days.
Surf Lifesaving BOP CEO Sarah Lucas says it is unlikely the reported sightings are for the same shark although it is believed they are all Thresher Sharks – easily identifiable by their long thresher tails, small dorsal fins and slim build.
People are being urged to inform lifeguards immediately when they see a shark at the beach.
Swimmers have reported the sharks coming as close as two metres to them and just one metre from shore.
Sarah is not surprised by the shark sightings as she says it is common for them to come in close as the water temperatures heat up.
Sarah says it is critical that when people spot a shark they inform a lifeguard immediately. Once seen by a lifeguard they are able to respond and keep the beach safe. When Omanu Beach head lifeguard Leigh Sefton spotted one the sharks on Christmas Eve he followed it on a quad bike and when it neared swimmers he was able to alert them to the danger.
“For many swimmers, surfers, kayakers and fishermen sharks are a common sighting, however, it is always important to be cautious as the ocean is their territory not ours,” says Sarah.