Shark sightings at St Clair and in Otago Harbour cleared people from the water in Dunedin yesterday.

A 4m shark was spotted at St Clair Point, near the St Clair Salt Water Pool, in the morning.

South Coast Board Riders Association president Mark Stevenson said the shark was seen by a paddle-boarder, who was ”pretty freaked out” because it was longer than his board.

It was seen heading towards the beach and also swam under the board of an 11-year-old surf club member, Mr Stevenson said.

The shark bell was rung, and surfers and swimmers left the water. There was no panic, he said.

The shark was rumoured to be a white pointer, but Mr Stevenson could not confirm that, saying it was ”definitely big – 4 metres”.

About 6pm police received a call from a fisherman, who reported seeing three ”seven-gill” sharks, each about 2.75m long, circling his boat in Otago Harbour near Otakou wharf.

Police officers visited beaches in the area, including at Macandrew Bay, to warn people of the sighting.

Senior Constable Lox Kellas, of Portobello, said sharks that size could pose a threat to people.

”Three of them together is a bit of a cause for concern – that’s why the gentleman rang me. If they had a crack at a kiddie they could definitely do some damage,” he said.

Seven-gill sharks were not in the same category as mako or great white sharks, but had ”some teeth in them”, Snr Const Kellas said.

Late last night, Acting Senior Sergeant Damion Rangitutia said there had been no further reports of shark sightings, or of incidents involving sharks.