The West

Shark died with seal stuck in its throat
After about two hours, the shark beached itself on a reef. Picture: Brad Tapper

A white pointer filmed thrashing around off the North West coast was later found to have died with a sea lion stuck in its throat.

The Department of Fisheries investigated the death of the four-metre shark after it washed ashore at Coronation Beach, 28km north of Geraldton earlier this week.

The shark is believed to be the same animal which was seen thrashing around just metres from the sand on Coronation Beach two days earlier.

A video of the shark splashing in the whitewash was posted on Youtube last week and has attracted more than 17,000 views.

"Looked like it may have been sick or injured. It would head off shore about 50m then turn around and come in and do this on the beach," the creator posted on the site.

Principal research scientist Rory McAuley said the shark which died had a big Australian sea lion stuck in its throat.

It had no other signs of injury or disease and may have been trying to dislodge the blockage through its unusual behaviour in the shallow waters.

"Such a large object may have damaged the shark's internal organs or impeded water flow into his gills, contributing to his death.

"Alternatively, the shark may have accidentally become stranded in his attempts to get rid of the obstruction," Dr McAuley said.

Picture: Brad Tapper

The same shark was tagged by the Department in South Australia six months ago. Dr McAuley said its movements demonstrated how "extraordinarily mobile" the species was.

Geraldton locals Tash and Brad Tapper filmed the shark as it thrashed around off Coronation Beach.

Mr Tapper, who had been at the beach with his children, said a dog walker first noticed the shark when his pet refused to go in the water.

“When we spotted it, it was about 50 metres off the shore. We thought it was a diver or something,” he said.

“It was kind of surreal, you’re watching it and you don’t realise how rare it is at the time until you get home and have a look at the footage.”

Mr Tapper’s family watched the shark for hours as it moved around in the shallow waters, before heading out to sea and returning again.

He said the animal attracted a crowd of about 20 people who had been staying at a nearby campsite.

After about two hours, the shark beached itself on a reef, when Mr Tapper was able to capture close-up photographs of the animal.

Some of the onlookers attempted to drag the shark out to sea using a tow rope, but the animal returned to the reef soon after.

“We went to look at it and got within three or four metres of it but it started kicking and thrashing around again so we thought it was time to leave,” Mr Tapper said.

The West Australian

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