Man injured while cutting shark from fishing line
A Whakatane man accidentally stabbed himself while trying to cut a blue shark off a fishing line on Monday.
The commercial fisherman, who is in his 40s, was at sea when the accident happened and sought medical help when he reached Great Barrier Island yesterday afternoon.
St John Ambulance staff on Great Barrier treated him, before he was flown to Auckland City Hospital at about 3pm.
Auckland Rescue Helicopter intensive care paramedic Chris Deacon said the stab wound was of "reasonable proportions, but not life threatening".
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"He was out fishing for blue finned tuna and they got a blue shark on the line instead.
"He was trying to cut it off and there were reasonably good-sized seas.
"The boat was swaying and he lost his balance and accidentally got himself," Deacon said.
The fisherman did not mention the size of the shark on his line, but had noticed an increase in the number and size of sharks since shark finning was banned in New Zealand waters in 2014, Deacon said.
"Blue sharks are reasonably curious fish and they are getting more and more of them and they're getting bigger and bigger."
Deacon said the rescue helicopter could have winched the man off the boat, but his decision to wait to until he came ashore at Great Barrier worked out fine.
"Mother nature doesn't have any health and safety regulations - you are at the mercy of your environment.
"It's a risky business and those guys love it.
"They're pretty tough blokes," Deacon said.