Just in time for Shark Week, we bring you this impressive feeding show filmed off the Australian coast. The gathering of tiger sharks and great whites was caught on camera feasting on the carcass of a sperm whale in the waters off Coffs Harbour in New South Wales. 

Local scuba diver Brett Vercoe captured the footage from a boat while on a diving trip with his wife. "In a short period, we saw a number of sharks circling ... After 10 or 15 minutes it was quite obvious there were at least five sharks – three white pointers [great whites], up to about 4.5 metres in length, and two tigers, the biggest being about 4.2 [metres long]," he tells ABC News.

"I spent three hours watching as the sharks leisurely took advantage of this abundant food source," he adds. 

Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) are the largest of the world's toothed whales and can grow to a mighty 18.3 metres (60ft) in length, so the Coffs Harbour carcass would have presented a tasty and hard-to-resist feeding opportunity. 

While not much is known about the scavenging habits of large sharks like great whites, and such events are rarely seen, scientists working in South Africa's False Bay did manage to shed some light on the behaviour while observing the area's famous ocean predators back in 2013.

A dead whale, the scientists noted, acted like a "ringing dinner bell" for local great white shark populations, attracting larger sharks than those typically seen in the area. The researchers observed that the animals had distinct preferences when approaching a floating feast, eating the whale's fluke and the blubber-rich areas of the carcass first. A clear "pecking order" based on size also emerged, keeping dinner-table interactions amicable even when mutiple sharks were feeding at the same time.

After witnessing four separate scavenging events and making detailed observations at each one, the researchers suggested that whales may be a really important food source for large great whites, and that this scavenging behaviour has important ecological implications.

"Similar to the foraging behaviour described in terrestrial apex predators [like wolves, polar bears or spotted hyenas], we suggest that white sharks scavenging on whales may be more prevalent and significant to the overall foraging ecology of the species," the team concluded in a study published in the journal PLOS One. 

You can watch a video summary of the findings here: