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Man Fined Over Shark Decapitation

A local man has been issued a $600 infringement notice after he caught, killed, and decapitated a great white shark at Mahia Peninsula.

DOC was alerted to the incident when a local kuia spotted the carcass on the beach near Mahia Boat Ramp on Friday, 15 March this year.

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.

Matt Tong, DOC’s Operations Manager Tairawhiti, says the DOC Compliance team investigated and, after several weeks, located the person responsible.

“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.

Great white shark. Credit: Clinton Duffy

“We’re extremely grateful for the assistance of the kuia who informed us and assisted with the investigation. DOC staff are recovering the head and jaw, which will be gifted back to iwi.”

Great white sharks are protected under the Wildlife Act 1953, meaning it is illegal to hunt, kill, or otherwise harm them, or to possess or trade in any part of the animals. Any offence under this Act is liable for fines of up to $250,000 and up to two years’ imprisonment.

Matt says to avoid situations like this, people should carefully release any sharks accidentally caught when fishing.

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“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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