Department of Conservation (DOC) Investigations Team Lead Dylan Swain says the animal was discovered on 25 November, with staff responding alongside members of local iwi Ngāti Manuhiri.
A karakia was performed at the site before the shark’s carcass was taken from the beach and sent to Massey University for necropsy. The animal will be returned to iwi for burial.
The necropsy report indicates the shark – a juvenile female 2.35 metres in length – drowned after being trapped in a net. Marks on the animal are consistent with those made by meshes of a net around the snout. The report also shows the animal had died not long before being found dead on the beach.
Great white sharks are protected under the Wildlife Act 1953. This means it is illegal to hunt, kill or otherwise harm them. Anyone found in breach of these rules could face a max penalty of $10,000 upon conviction or be issued an infringement notice of $600.
Dylan Swain says accidentally catching a protected species is not an offence but the failure to report the capture of a great white shark is an offence under the Wildlife Act – hence the call for information from the public.
“Omaha Beach is a popular location, and we anticipate someone has seen something which will be valuable to our investigation.
“We have a lot of endangered and protected species in Aotearoa and great white sharks are one of them. We understand people are eager to go out into the water, but they must know we have protected marine wildlife and there are rules to follow should they encounter them,” he says.
DOC Marine Technical Advisor Clinton Duffy says the biggest threat to great whites is through fishing, both commercially and for recreation.
“White sharks, also known as great whites or white pointers, are present around the New Zealand coastline all year round, but most encounters are between December and May.
“Sharks and rays are naturally vulnerable to overfishing because they grow slowly, mature late and produce few young over their life. Many only give birth once every two or three years.