The Bowentown area on the North Island has become a “major hotspot for unknown reasons”, according to shark scientist and Marine Biologist Riley Elliott.
Dr Elliott is launching an investigation into why great white shark sightings have increased.
His research permit is currently awaiting approval from the Department of Conservation.
“In the last three years around the Bay of Plenty there’s been a massive increase in human and great white shark encounters,” he told 9news.com.au.
“I myself identified 15 juveniles from just peoples’ photos alone, which were sent to me last summer.”
Dr Elliott said interactions between the humans and great white sharks will increase, so he’s urging people to take care.
“Unfortunately a lot of people fish around there so sometimes it doesn’t end too well for the shark,” he said pointing to an incident yesterday.
A young great white shark was found dead on Omaha Beach on the North Island.
Dr Elliott believes the shark died after becoming trapped in fishing nets.
Amid the increased encounters, Dr Elliott urged swimmers to be wary of sharks when swimming.
“Without an understanding of the sharks’ movements, there’s a risk to both humans and these animals, because they’re endangered species,” Dr Elliott said.
“If you want to go swimming or surfing where great whites live you are taking that small risk,” Dr Elliott said.
“You are fifteen times more likely to drown in New Zealand then be attacked by a shark but the risk is still there.”
Kaelah Marlow’s death at Waihī Beach was New Zealand’s first fatal shark attack in eight years.
Then in March, a four-metre great white was filmed breaching from the water by local fisherman Josh Lonergan in March.
The shark had began chasing fish three metres away from the Mr Lonergan’s boat.