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Shark sightings shouldn't deter Kiwis getting in the water, expert says

Shark sightings in the Auckland area this summer shouldn't deter Kiwis getting in the water according to a shark expert.

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Riley Elliott told TVNZ1’s Breakfast people shouldn’t be fearful of the animals. Source: Breakfast

This summer a juvenile shark washed up on Orewa Beach a bronze whaler washed up on Narrow Neck beach and multiple sharks were sighted by a drone off Great Barrier Island. 

Shark expert Riley Elliott told TVNZ1’s Breakfast it's nothing to be afraid of. He says with technology like drones and cell phones, it’s not surprising that there are more sightings.

“At the end of the day everything around you is more dangerous than a shark is,” said Mr Elliott.

“There’s more of us in the last three weeks going out on the water with cell phones, drones, polarised cameras, boats… so it’s not surprising that we are seeing more of these animals it is where they live at the end of the day.”

He also highlighted why sharks are good for the ocean.

“More sharks mean more fish. Sharks reflect a healthy ecosystem,” he said.

“Seeing these animals, we shouldn’t be fearful of it we should be like 'wow that’s nature, that’s healthy and that’s awesome'.”

He also highlighted how surfers are more at risk of being attacked, than swimmers. 

"Its predominately because surfers tend to go in areas where great whites hunt seals," he said. 

"We dress up like seals, we act like seals that can't swim very well and if you're starting to do that in front of a predator to be honest it's surprising that sharks don't make more mistakes."

Mr Elliott said at the end of the day the ocean is the shark's environment.

"If you want to go recreate in it do it with respect and understanding."