11 Feb 2009

Final search for fisherman amid shark warning

3:12 pm on 11 February 2009

Police in New Plymouth will carry out a final search for a missing fisherman believed to have fallen overboard amid reports of a large white pointer shark in the area.

David Barr's empty dinghy was found at Port Taranaki on Saturday morning, about 30 minutes after he was last seen in it.

Police will take advantage of the low tide on Thursday morning to search for the 53-year-old's body.

Meanwhile, the Department of Conservation is warning kayakers to be alert to a large white pointer shark in the area.

The shark thought to be up to six metres in length was first seen four years ago, and the department says white pointers are creatures of habit, making it likely to be the same shark.

DoC Taranaki programme manager Bryan Williams says most boaties are not at risk, but kayakers pulling up fish could attract the shark and be tipped into the water.

Mr Williams says the shark could stay on hunting seal pups for months yet.

Mr Barr was last seen Saturday morning about 8.30am rowing his dinghy near the port's Blyde Wharf. Shortly after, the vessel was seen floating at the end of the wharf empty.

A police spokesperson says there is no evidence to show a shark had anything to do with Mr Barr's disappearance.