Shark Meat Seized Weeks After Great White's Head Was Found on Beach

New Zealand authorities have discovered the liver and meat of a great white shark, about a month after a shark's dismembered head was found on a beach in Tauranga.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) seized the meat from a residential address following a search warrant, The New Zealand Herald reported. According to the news outlet, the man living at the address is cooperating with authorities as they continue their investigation into the incident.

The head of the great white that sparked the investigation was originally found in early May on Pilot Bay Beach near the base of Mount Maunganui in the country's North Island. An image of the creature's remains—shared to Facebook by the White Shark Conservation Trust—shows its head, pectoral fins and innards abandoned along the shore.

"This is a juvenile white shark that appears to have been killed to consume," wrote the nonprofit organization. "The shark has what appears to be stab wounds to the head indicating it was killed after it was brought to shore."

They added that "this act is illegal on a number of accounts. The "killing of a protected species and being in possession of parts of a white shark...are prosecutable offenses and we urge anyone who knows anything about this to report their information to DOC (Department of Conservation) or MPI (Ministry of Primary Fisheries)."

At the time, the DOC's Clinton Duffy, an expert on sharks, said that it was clear that "the rest of the body [had] been taken for meat." Notably, the creature's jaws and teeth were left intact—Duffy added that "if [the shark] was killed for sport, they would have taken the jaw as a trophy."

Great whites are considered a "vulnerable" species globally, and in New Zealand, it's considered a serious crime to disturb their population. As reported in The New Zealand Herald, great white sharks are protected under the Wildlife Act of 1953. Anyone who kills or is found in possession of them can face up to two years in prison or a NZ$ 250,000 fine.

In a statement released by the DOC following the shark meat discovery, principal compliance officer Dylan Swain encouraged the public to report to the department if and when they accidentally catch members of protected species.

"Fishers are expected to not only know Fisheries regulations for the area they are in, but also to be able to identify the species they catch and whether or not they can be legally taken," he said.

"We would like to thank members of the public who reported this and shared information with us," he added.

Because the case is active, the "DOC will not be offering any further public comment on the case," according to the statement.

Great White Shark
A great white shark in Gansbaai, South Africa, in 2009. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images