Delegates from around the world attended to present ‘papers’ on various aspects of shark fishing and research. The theme was ‘to put a halt to the wastage associated with shark fining’.
It was understandable to me why fishermen in international waters would dump shark ‘barrels’ and retain just the fins – freezer space was reserved for more valuable tuna and marlin.
The conference theme attacked Taiwanese coastal fishermen for wasting shark.
Hostile local fishermen arrived and presented their defense.
Co-organizer, Wild Aid had egg on their face when they published in the official magazine for the conference (in two language separate editions) a ’ faked’ library photograph depicting the wasted barrel of a shark on the ocean floor.
Whoever had hacked the dorsal fin from that shark had used a blunt knife - definitely not a professional fisherman. It was a wrong choice of library picture that undermined a good argument.
Taiwanese coastal fishermen did not waste shark.
After three days of talking and presentations, in various languages requiring translation it was over.
A VHS video tape showing thousands of sharks fins being dried outdoors in South Africa would have helped Wild Aid’s argument that shark fins were big business, had it arrived in time for a screening.
Only a dozen people were able to view the documentary on a TV in the foyer, after the conference had concluded.
An increase in the use of shark as seafood
This may seem a positive step but in reality it increased the consumption of the heavy metal mercury which is found in all large sharks and many fish. End of the food chain predator stuff. Avoid eating marlin and swordfish.
Out-of-date shark finning stories continue to circulate on the internet. Behind the push is usually a request for financial donations. An exaggeration of pain upon the sharks is often quoted.
Where once sharks were feared and loathed, today they are loved. The same well-intending shark lovers rarely consider the pain of laboratory animals.
It’s interesting to note that one of the largest Great White sharks ever known was caught of Hualien 20 years ago.
Some sharks lay eggs which resembled the seaweed.
It did well when first released. We were inexperienced at film distribution and could have grossed many times what we did. In those times life had other priorities. Work was not one of them.
Musician turned shark film producer Henri Bource.
The missing leg occurred during a chance encounter with a Great white shark. The ‘attack’ gave Henri much publicity – especially his return to the sea to film sharks.
Henri used self-hypnosis to eliminate the phantom pains associated with a missing limb.
He could speak easily ‘about losing a leg in the accident’ but in the same breath believed he did not have a handicap.
At one stage he told us he wanted to join the army as a commando. (With one leg)?
His feature length film Savage Shadows received moderate success in cinemas.
A reconstruction of the accident and his rescue is often presented on You Tube as being the real thing.
I made appearances in the film, helping Henri to find sharks off southern Queensland.
We remained close friends until he passed away several years ago from a leukemia-related problem.
Shark film history trivia
A more important piece of Savage Shadows shows the first underwater footage of Great white sharks – filmed simultaneously by Ron Taylor nearer the surface and Henri Bource from a cage.
Ron later was contracted to film live shark sequences for the first JAWS movie at the same location, Dangerous Reef, South Australia.
Both cameramen captured a dramatic ‘shark eating another shark‘ event on the same expedition.
The sharks were four-meter Great whites. Scary stuff to see.
Yet today there are divers who risk everything to swim alongside such a shark, presumably selecting a well-fed specimen first.