- Small boat in New Zealand holding two researchers was rocked by a shark
- Shark expert stated the shark wasn’t being aggressive, but was after the bait being towed by the boat and got tangled in a rope
- Researchers in the boat wanted to fix a camera to the shark’s fin so they could track it and follow its migrations
- Clip comes from a documentary from the Discovery Channel’s shark week
The sight of a great white shark seemingly attacking a tiny boat will do little to allay people’s fears that it’s safe to go back in the water. A video shot in New Zealand shows a great white rocking and biting at a boat with two men on board, with a real danger that it could capsize and they could become a meal for ‘Jaws’. However, a shark expert said that the creature wasn’t being aggressive at all – it simply wanted to get hold of bait being towed by the boat, before getting tangled in a rope. The chilling clip comes from a Discovery Channel documentary called ‘Lair of the Mega Shark’ which airs this Sunday. In it, shark experts Jeff Kerr and Andy Casagrande head to New Zealand to investigate the sightings of a 20-foot (six metre) Great White Shark and tag them with a fin cam to track the sharks and their migration.
The clip shows them trying to catch a shark to tag, with terrifying results. They manage it in the end but not after a bone-chilling encounter. While it may seem that the enormous and powerful creature is deliberately attacking the researchers’ small boat, which is being towed behind a larger one, it is in fact trying to reach bait dangled from the craft to lure sharks close with the aim of fixing a camera to their dorsal fins. Shark expert Richard Peirce stated: ‘The chum [a scent trail created by bait] would have attracted the shark to the boat, but the shark wasn’t expecting a boat. ‘It would have come across the scent and come up to get a meal. ‘It initially gets caught in the line and tries to free itself and rocks the boat,’ he explained. ‘It’s absolutely not right to say the shark is attacking the boat,’ he said, before nothing that an attack would appear similar but take place in different circumstances. He said it would have been ‘nerve-wracking’ to be on the boat and if the men had ended up in the water with the bait, they could have been killed. Another clip from a documentary named ‘Great White Serial Killer’ shows a surprising number of sharks approaching a diving cage with people inside.
The show is part of the Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, which runs from the 2nd to 8th of August. Just as with the boat, Dr Peirce said the creatures are not bearing their teeth to be aggressive, but open their mouths slightly when nervous and to take in a scent. They often try to ‘mouth’ or gently bite baited cages to explore them. ‘Sharks don’t have arms or legs so they can’t touch you. All they’ve got at the front end of their body is a mouth and they use it as an exploratory organ,’ he explained. ‘So if a shark wants what something is, it takes an exploratory bite to tell it what it is. ‘If a shark is in attack mode it could approach at 20 or 30mph – that’s different to swimming up to something and giving a nip.’