A lifetime of fishing around Wellington couldn't prepare Kay Som for the sight of dead sharks on the beach.
More than a dozen dead sharks were found washed up at a beach in Shelly Bay on Saturday morning.
Fisherman Som is born and bred in the area and knows the waters well. He said in all his time there, he's never seen anything like it.
"It's the first time I've seen them washed up," he said.
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Sharks in the area weren't uncommon – a mate had caught one further up the beach when he was fishing on Friday night – but seeing them on the beach like that was, he said.
They were likely to be Rig Sharks, otherwise known as Spotted Dogfish or Lemonfish, said an Otago University expert on sharks, Mike Paulin.
The shark bodies were visible from the road and attracted attention from passing motorists and travellers.
Several people stopped at the beach to check them out.
Miramar resident Victoria Pointon came across the sharks while on her run on Saturday morning.
"It is really sad to see them," she said.
She thought they must have only just washed up on shore when she was at the beach around 9.30am.
"The birds are staying away from them and there aren't any flies around. None of the sea gulls are getting close."
Recreational fisherman Nathan Carr is visiting the capital from Whanganui and said it was a crying shame to find so many washed up.
He thought it was likely the sharks may have been dumped and pointed to lines on a couple of the sea creatures as possible markings from nets.
"It would be nice to get to the bottom of it," he said.
He believed the sharks could have come from a trawler, possibly hauled up in a catch as a mistake and dumped off the side.
It was a waste, especially as the sharks were edible. "Around where we live, we would eat them."