Photo source: VSIMAGES
An investigation is underway by police and the Department of Conservation following the death of a shark at Orewa Beach, Auckland yesterday evening.
At around 5pm the juvenile female white shark, around 2.5m in length, became stranded onshore after becoming tangled in a net.
Surf lifesaving lifeguard Hayden Bartlett was on duty at the time and joined members of the public to pull the shark back into the water.
"Once we got there we tried to pull it into the water and revive it."
But unfortunately, the shark was unresponsive and died at the scene.
Concerns have arisen after reports were made about people kicking the shark. When he was at the scene Bartlett said there no people kicking the animal.
"It wasn't malicious. It was more like prodding it, just seeing if it was alive with their toes. It was definitely disrespectful and people were kind of scared and that's what people do. They see a shark and they just kind of prod it with their foot. They don't want to get too close."
But he said lifeguards made sure to move the pubic away from the shark to be more "respectful to the animal".
Another lifeguard told Te Ao Māori News today that the shark was caught in a net when it came to shore. She said once the shark came to shore, members of the public tried to claim that the shark belonged to them and was part of their “catch”.
However, white sharks are protected under the Wildlife Act 1953. This means it is illegal to hunt, kill or harm white sharks within New Zealand’s Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone, 200nm limit around New Zealand. Any offence under this Act is liable to a fine of up to $250,000 and six months imprisonment.
Police were also in attendance and say they are working closely with the Department of Conservation to investigate the circumstances of what has occurred, police said in a statement.
Police are encouraging anyone who was at the beach at the time and witnessed what happened to contact DOC directly with information on 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).