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Man fined for decapitating great white shark

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Man fined for decapitating great white shark

The man claimed he did not know it was a great white shark, and brought it ashore, where the jaw and head were removed and taken. Photo: Gerald Schömbs | Unsplash

A local man has been issued a $600 infringement notice for catching, killing, and decapitating a great white shark at Mahia Peninsula.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) was alerted to the incident on Friday, 15 March, by a local kuia who discovered the shark’s carcass near Mahia Boat Ramp.

The man claimed he did not know it was a great white shark, and brought it ashore, where the jaw and head were removed and taken.

“As well as failing to report his capture of the animal, the man received the infringement for being in possession of the head and jaw of the shark without a relevant authority under the Wildlife Act,” said Matt Tong, DOC’s Operations Manager for Tairawhiti.

Tong expressed gratitude to the kuia who reported the sighting and assisted in the investigation.

“DOC staff are recovering the head and jaw, which will be gifted back to iwi,” he added.

Great white sharks are protected under the Wildlife Act 1953, which prohibits hunting, killing, or harming them, as well as possessing or trading any part of the animals. Violations of this Act can result in fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment for up to two years.

Tong said people should carefully release any sharks accidentally caught when fishing to avoid situations like this.

“Should you inadvertently catch or kill a great white shark, notify DOC immediately. Useful information to provide with the specimen includes the location and depth the fish was taken in.

“Accidentally catching something is not an infringement, but keeping, killing, or failing to report it is.”

Report details of sightings, captures, or strandings to DOC sharks@doc.govt.nz or to 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).

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