Regional | Bay of Plenty

Study of Great White Sharks in Bay of Plenty moana launched

A new project has been launched to monitor and understand the increased interaction between humans and Great White Sharks. in the Tauranga Harbour in the Bay of Plenty.

Local iwi, marine ecologists, fisheries scientists and shark experts are teaming up to study what is causing the situation and manage the risk to humans.

They say it has been happening over the past few years with an increased frequency, causing fear and anxiety and prompting a call to action to have something done.

University of Waikato marine ecologist and project lead Phil Ross and hapū Te Whānau a Tauwhao and Ngāti Te Wai are making research plans for the summer.

“We plan to have the research up and running before summer arrives so we can begin the process of learning about the size and make-up of the white shark population in the Bay.”

A lot of encounters

“We will gain a better understanding of the behaviours and movements of individual sharks in the area.”

“We’re also working to create opportunities for the public and citizen scientists to be involved in this important work.

"We know there have been a lot of encounters between the sharks and spearfishers, surfers and swimmers. We want to capture that information and use it to better understand these awesome creatures,” Ross said.

Reon Tuanau from Otawhiwhi marae, which is participating in the project, said “We are very keen to learn more about the increased presence and activity of the Great White Shark in our moana.

"We have a long-standing relationship with the team of experts that has been brought together to partner with our hapū in gaining a greater understanding of the changes that are occurring in the moana.”