Nosy in-shore shark 'no cause for alarm'

BILL MOORE
Last updated 13:00 17/12/2012
Shark
BILL EVANS

HAVING A 'NOSY': The shark in the sea near Rocks Rd on Saturday.

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A "nosy" shark that swam close to shore at Tahunanui Beach on Saturday morning wasn't sighted again yesterday and surf lifesavers say there is no need for concern.

Richmond woman Michelle Welsh, who photographed it from Rocks Rd, estimated it was about 2 metres long and said her 15-year-old son, Zak, who is fascinated by sharks, was certain it was a blue shark, a species often present in Tasman Bay.

Other eyewitnesses put the shark's size at 1m to 1.5m.

Ms Welsh had been with a group paddling a waka ama when the beach was suddenly cleared of swimmers. She said they had "paddled in like nothing" and she then went up onto the Rocks Rd footpath to take a look.

The shark was "a black shadow in the water". "It came right up to the footpath, it wasn't shy at all - it's like it was being nosy. It wasn't big in girth. It was just quite long."

People were more interested than spooked, Ms Walsh said.

"It's their domain - and it's cool, because Shark Week was last week."

Nelson Surf Life Saving Club president Marcus Gardner said there were probably many sharks in Tasman Bay at any one time, including large bronze whalers chasing fish.

"People generally don't see them because they don't often swim around just under the surface. You're lucky to ever see them."

This sighting was no cause for alarm. If a more menacing shark was sighted and "it looked like it was going to be hanging around and you could see it, we'd send a boat out, round it up and send it back out to sea".

There have been a few instances of swimmers being painfully wounded by stingray barbs on the Nelson coastline, but it has been free of shark attacks.

"You'd probably have to go back well over 100 years to find something that was even vaguely possibly a shark attack," Mr Gardner said. It was also common for people to think they'd seen a shark when it was something else.

"Logs of wood is a common one."

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- The Nelson Mail

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