The Shark Callers of Papua New Guinea

    by Patrick Nason For the past six months I have been living with Shark Callers on the tropical island of New Ireland, five hundred miles east of mainland Papua New Guinea.  My home in Tembin village rests on the volcanic shores of the Bismarck Sea, the site of Dennis O'Rourke's 1982 documentary, The Sharkcallers of Kontu.  This anthropological classic discussed the struggles of local fishing culture against the modern threats of Christianity and capitalism.  Decades … [Read more...]

Report from Western Australia on the Shark Cull – Part 2/3

This is the Second of a Three-part Field Report on the Shark Cull in Western Australia  PART TWO:    VAGABONDING While I prefer to travel light and plan little, I do think it’s a good idea to arrange at least one night of lodging to rest up after a transcontinental flight. Stepping off the bus in Perth, my traveling companion and I soon realized that we had booked a room in Fremantle and would need to take a train from Perth to get there. Fortunately the train station was only a block away, so … [Read more...]

Report from Western Australia on The Shark Cull – Part 1/3

This is the First of a Three-part Field Report on the Shark Cull in Western Australia  PART ONE:    MAKING CONNECTIONS Four months having passed since the scheduled hiatus of the controversial shark cull in Western Australia, and with deadline looming on whether or not to extend, amend, or simply end what protest groups have called “despicable and highly illegal,” it seems appropriate to weigh in on the significance of this controversial state action. Having just returned from a self-guided … [Read more...]

The Silver Hammerhead: A Shark Encounter

Sometimes, it takes only one. The first experience with a shark in the blue ocean is a life-changer.  Rarely does the sight of an animal inspire such passionate admiration and everlasting memory.  For those of us lucky enough to meet one face to face—through the lens of a dive mask, over the transom of a small boat, or from edge of a surfboard—the moment of contact renders us speechless.  Only after considerable thought can we speak of this feeling in a way others might understand. My moment … [Read more...]

“Sharks” or “The Shark”: The Language of Conservation

When we shark aficionados talk about our undersea compatriots, those often-misunderstood creatures below the waves, do we refer to them as “sharks” or “the shark”?  What’s the difference between the collective and the singular when it comes to their conservation?  Over the years I have talked to hundreds of shark biologists, shark activists, shark fishermen, shark artists, and even traditional shark-callers about their relationship with these animals.  With each conversation, I am more and more … [Read more...]