RON TAYLOR’S “Slaughter at Saumarez” (1964) GOOD QUALITY

October 20, 2009 § 3 Comments


Note: Shark sizes have been exaggerated by the narrator – (Chuck Faulkner the leading news reader on commercial TV  who suggested changes to the script).

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Documentary films made for a cinema release in 1965 had to have dramatic titles. We went a little over the top with these, to say the least. Both were, however, quality productions for their time.

Revenge of a Shark Victim was intended to be the star product but it didn’t turn out that way. Surfers heckled the overly dramatic and tragic personal events depicted in a skin diver’s life following his encounter with a white pointer. The subsequent ‘revenge’ was upon semi-harmless species and dangerous whaler sharks. Considered valid at the time but certainly not today when everyone prefers to spare sharks in preference to harming even the shark responsible for biting someone.

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The late Robert Raymond (founder of 4 Corners) purchased B&W TV rights to Revenge for the sum of one thousand pounds (about $30,000 in today’s terms).

Bob re-edited footage into a new 60-minute special SHARK for his Project ’67 documentary series. It won the show a Logie.

We became lifelong friends with Bob.

Slaughter at Saumarez was the third of the three-film program. (Not listed is a surfing adventure). A better choice of title today might be something using the words: First underwater exploration of The Coral Sea.

This was a unique and very dangerous expedition in October 1964 traveling far offshore and beyond the Great Barrier Reef in a small professional fishing vessel with Capt.Wally Muller. Bob Grounds and I were the freedivers who chased grey reef sharks (then an unnamed species) with much success. It was a semi-acted documentary, ‘filmed as it actually happened’.

Highlight was the then intact 7,196 ton US Liberty ship aground on Saumarez Reef.

TV news reader Chuck Faulkner re-wrote what became an over-the-top script. He did the narration with an Australian-American accent. A five-foot long white tip reef shark became a fifteen-foot streamlined killer. Chuck believed what he saw and put this into words. We didn’t mind at the time but it was to later become a mistake regretted.

Geoffrey Harvey recorded music I’d describe as a jam-session of jazz for the soundtrack. Ah well. It was a very limited budget and also 1965.

Underwater shark films were not being made anywhere else in the world except Australia by Ron Taylor and his former partner Ben Cropp who was financially much better off by selling his grey nurse and whale shark film products to TV in Australia and especially networks in USA.

The North American’s asked Ben for a dozen more films – immediately. He couldn’t deliver so Jacques Cousteau got the contract instead.

For a brief period, Australia led the world in shark film and what would have been underwater adventure-travel productions.

Diver John Harding (left); cameraman Ron Taylor in 2004, forty years after making the three documentary films.

Slaughter at Saumarez was a fishing, spear fishing and shark encounter expedition of 1964.

Revenge of a Shark Victim was the Rodney Fox return to diving story after being bitten badly.

Surf Scene was introducing Australia’s top long board surfers of 1965 to the underwater world.

John Harding appeared in all three films, along with Wally Muller, Bob Grounds, Ron Zangari, Valerie Taylor, Rodney Fox, Robert Conneeley, Russell Hughes, Paul Witzig and the late Kevin Brennan.Rodney Fox returned to where a shark tasted him, to make the first of his many documentary film appearances.

Two hours of Ron Taylor film narrated live - to full theatres during 1967 - season was extended.

Two hours of Ron Taylor film narrated live – 1967 – season was extended.

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MARINE PHOTOGRAPHER – JOHN H. HARDING

June 27, 2018 § Leave a comment


John Harding in 1992

Valerie Taylor and Tanya Binning in 1964

INTERNATIONAL SHARK SYMPOSIUM TAIPEI (May 2002)

June 24, 2018 § Leave a comment


© John H Harding

According to the most recent statistics released by the Council of Agriculture (行政院農業委With its massive market for shark products, Taiwan is in a strong position to provide international leadership in creating a sustainable environment for shark fishing
By Gavin Phipps / STAFF REPORTER

Long the target of international criticism in relation to questionable fishing practices and a lack of conservation awareness, Taiwan’s fishing industry will be under the spotlight once again this coming week, when the Shark Conference 2002 kicks off in Taipei today.

Organized jointly by the National Taiwan Ocean University (國立台灣海洋大學) and WildAid — a US based non-profit organization — the four-day conference is set to see a host of shark experts from around the world taking to the podium and addressing shark related matters ranging from utilization, conservation and shark attacks.

The choice of Taiwan as the host nation was not made in order to chastise Taiwan’s much-maligned fishing industry, however. Instead the nation was chosen by WildAid because the NGO believes that Taiwan’s fishing industry has the potential to become a role model for fishing industries across the globe in the area of shark conservation and shark fishery management.

“We’re not here to criticize Taiwan, but encourage [it],” stated Peter Knights, director and founder of WildAid. “Taiwan was chosen not only because it is a hub of shark fishing and importation, but also because we feel that Taiwan is in a unique position to show leadership in the field of utilization and sustain-ability.”

With an annual catch of between 30 to 50 thousand tons, or 7 percent of a global shark catch totaling roughly 800 thousand tons, Taiwan is the world’s fifth largest producer of shark-based products behind Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Spain.

According to the most recent statistics released by the Council of Agriculture (行政院農業委員會), which are based on a study undertaken in 2000, of the 47,741 tons of shark caught that year, 38,447 tons was taken from far seas shark fisheries and 9,294 tons was taken from coastal shark fisheries in the seas adjacent to the township of Suao (蘇澳) on Taiwan’s east coast.

In addition, Taiwan is also a major importer of shark. In recent year’s sales of shark caught by fishing fleets based out of India, the Philippines and Spain have increased in order to fulfill the demand for shark in Taiwan. The meat is primarily used in the manufacture of fish balls.

“We’re not opposed to the fishing of shark or the eating of shark. The situation is that the fishing of sharks is unmanaged. This is what makes it unsustainable, as nobody knows the actual numbers of sharks in the oceans,” continued Knights.

According to Knights, one way in which Taiwan can help monitor shark populations is to offer financial incentives to fisherman to tag sharks rather than to slaughter them. While this task is undertaken by universities and government bodies in Australia and the US, the concept is relatively new to Taiwan.

“With the exception of the fin, shark is not a high-end fish product. In fact, its meat is cheap and considered second rate by most people,” explained Liu Kwang-ming (劉光明), professor at the National Taiwan Ocean University’s department of fishery science (國立台灣海洋大學魚業科學學系). “This is one of the main reasons shark fishing hasn’t been monitored as closely as tuna fishing, for which extensive records dating back nearly 50 years exist.”

At present the most frequently used method of collecting data on shark populations in the seas around Taiwan is word of mouth. This rough and ready method relies on fishermen comparing the size of last year’s catch with this year’s. Needless to say, this only gives authorities a very rough estimate as to the actual number of sharks in Taiwan’s territorial waters.

“Official records of what is caught are nearly non-existent. Those that do exist state whether the sharks are big or small but provide little data regarding the species or location of the catch,” continued Liu. “This is something that needs to change if the extermination of certain species of sharks is to be avoided.”

While accurate records are scarce, conservationists firmly believe that the plankton eating whale shark is one species native to the waters of the South China Sea that is close to extinction. To make matters worse, the whale shark is also the most commonly eaten shark in Taiwan.

“Taiwan is the only country in the world where a commercial market for whale shark exists. Because of this, a thriving trade in whale sharks has sprung up in the waters around the Philippines and extending to the Indian Ocean,” said Knights. “And once again, Taiwan is in a perfect position to put an end to this simply by limiting the number of whale sharks caught on an annual basis.”

In August last year the Central Government stepped into the fray surrounding the whale shark. Regulations now exist that limit the number of whale sharks that can be caught annually to 80.

While WildAid firmly believes that Taiwan’s coastal shark fisheries have the potential to become world leaders in conservation and sustainability, a certain degree of negativity still surrounds the local shark fishing industry.

Shark finning, or the retention of the sharks fin and the discarding of the carcass is still common practice, especially among Taiwan’s far seas fleet. Shark fins are seen by many crews an opportunity to earn a little extra cash.

 

Silky shark off Sydney (1967) by JH Hardding

“More often than not finning is undertaken by the crew as a sideline when the boats are in waters some distance from Taiwan,” said Knights. “For example, one Taiwan ship was recently intercepted by the coast guard in waters off Hawaii with 2.6 tons of fins and no carcasses.”

Although Hong Kong is the undisputed center of the international trade in shark fin — with 90 percent of the world’s shark fins passing through processing plants in the ex-British colony — the market for shark fin products in Taiwan has increased.

And while coast guard units are now willing to intercept and confiscate illegally collected fins, both Liu and Knights agree that the only real way in which to stop the practice of finning is to take their arguments to the marketplace.

In order to do this Knights and WildAid have, for the first time, invited shark fin dealers to participate in the up-coming conference.

“While the United Nations and its Food and Agriculture Organization have condemned the practice and fishermen caught with more fins than carcasses now face charges, we are still waiting for dealers to openly condemn finning,” concluded Knights. “Once this is done and fishermen realize that dealers won’t purchase fins that have been gathered illegally, the bottom goes out of the market and the horrific practice will be brought to an end sooner rather than later.”
員會), which are based on a study undertaken in 2000, of the 47,741 tons of shark caught that year, 38,447 tons was taken from far seas shark fisheries and 9,294 tons was taken from coastal shark fisheries in the seas adjacent to the township of Suao (蘇澳) on Taiwan’s east coast.

In addition, Taiwan is also a major importer of shark. In recent year’s sales of shark caught by fishing fleets based out of India, the Philippines and Spain have increased in order to fulfill the demand for shark in Taiwan. The meat is primarily used in the manufacture of fish balls.

“We’re not opposed to the fishing of shark or the eating of shark. The situation is that the fishing of sharks is unmanaged. This is what makes it unsustainable, as nobody knows the actual numbers of sharks in the oceans,” continued Knights.

According to Knights, one way in which Taiwan can help monitor shark populations is to offer financial incentives to fisherman to tag sharks rather than to slaughter them. While this task is undertaken by universities and government bodies in Australia and the US, the concept is relatively new to Taiwan.

“With the exception of the fin, shark is not a high-end fish product. In fact, its meat is cheap and considered second rate by most people,” explained Liu Kwang-ming (劉光明), professor at the National Taiwan Ocean University’s department of fishery science (國立台灣海洋大學魚業科學學系). “This is one of the main reasons shark fishing hasn’t been monitored as closely as tuna fishing, for which extensive records dating back nearly 50 years exist.”

At present the most frequently used method of collecting data on shark populations in the seas around Taiwan is word of mouth. This rough and ready method relies on fishermen comparing the size of last year’s catch with this year’s. Needless to say, this only gives authorities a very rough estimate as to the actual number of sharks in Taiwan’s territorial waters.

“Official records of what is caught are nearly non-existent. Those that do exist state whether the sharks are big or small but provide little data regarding the species or location of the catch,” continued Liu. “This is something that needs to change if the extermination of certain species of sharks is to be avoided.”

While accurate records are scarce, conservationists firmly believe that the plankton eating whale shark is one species native to the waters of the South China Sea that is close to extinction. To make matters worse, the whale shark is also the most commonly eaten shark in Taiwan.

“Taiwan is the only country in the world where a commercial market for whale shark exists. Because of this, a thriving trade in whale sharks has sprung up in the waters around the Philippines and extending to the Indian Ocean,” said Knights. “And once again, Taiwan is in a perfect position to put an end to this simply by limiting the number of whale sharks caught on an annual basis.”

In August last year the Central Government stepped into the fray surrounding the whale shark. Regulations now exist that limit the number of whale sharks that can be caught annually to 80.

While WildAid firmly believes that Taiwan’s coastal shark fisheries have the potential to become world leaders in conservation and sustainability, a certain degree of negativity still surrounds the local shark fishing industry.

Shark finning, or the retention of the sharks fin and the discarding of the carcass is still common practice, especially among Taiwan’s far seas fleet. Shark fins are seen by many crews an opportunity to earn a little extra cash.

“More often than not finning is undertaken by the crew as a sideline when the boats are in waters some distance from Taiwan,” said Knights. “For example, one Taiwan ship was recently intercepted by the coast guard in waters off Hawaii with 2.6 tons of fins and no carcasses.”

Although Hong Kong is the undisputed center of the international trade in shark fin — with 90 percent of the world’s shark fins passing through processing plants in the ex-British colony — the market for shark fin products in Taiwan has increased.

And while coast guard units are now willing to intercept and confiscate illegally collected fins, both Liu and Knights agree that the only real way in which to stop the practice of finning is to take their arguments to the marketplace.

In order to do this Knights and WildAid have, for the first time, invited shark fin dealers to participate in the up-coming conference.

“While the United Nations and its Food and Agriculture Organization have condemned the practice and fishermen caught with more fins than carcasses now face charges, we are still waiting for dealers to openly condemn finning,” concluded Knights. “Once this is done and fishermen realize that dealers won’t purchase fins that have been gathered illegally, the bottom goes out of the market and the horrific practice will be brought to an end sooner rather than later.”

Surfing magazines educate readers on hazards. It has not stopped sharks biting surfers and even their boards. Western Australia has clocked up many fatal bites since this issue went on sale in 2000.

CONTROLLING SHARKS WITH BEACH NETS (Queensland)

December 26, 2016 § Leave a comment


HOW BEACH NETS WORK PREVENTING SHARK BITES

Improvements to minimize ‘collateral damage’ could be costly yet feasible to diffuse anger promoted by environmental agencies. An obvious example might be:  

1. Better positioning (where nets are placed deeper and touching the sand,

2. Leaving sufficient above-net space for surface animals to pass above); 

3. Divers inspecting nets every few hours to release non sharks;  

4. Tagging and releasing some sharks except the meshing net principle is, trapped, struggling or dead sharks warn other sharks to stay from danger (they are not stupid).

 

Frame from 16mm film (John Harding)

Frame from 16mm film (John Harding)

TALE OF A SHARK HUNTER (video 360P)

December 26, 2016 § Leave a comment


Ben Cropp tells his personal story of shark encounters 1960s onwards.   Assisted by Lynn Roberts (above).

HENRI BOURCE (1935-1998) Great White Shark ate leg

May 18, 2016 § Leave a comment


 

F2HB

Henri Bource at North Stradbroke Island, Queensland during his marine filming project "Savage Shadows".© John Harding 2016

Henri Bource at North Stradbroke Island, Queensland during his marine filming project “Savage Shadows”.© John Harding 2016

 

WhitePointerMart

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Henri portrait

 

F2-Henri-Ray Henri Bource returns to the sea

Meanwhile, to combat phantom pains (itches and aches etc.) in the lost lower half of a leg, Henri learned self hypnosis soon after his ‘accident’ as he called the shark attack.

The effect was, he could explain how the shark bit his leg off and almost turn the incident into humor, sometimes.

So convincing was his attitude to living normal life, without thinking I once criticized him for parking in a disabled parking space.

Henri Bource (sax) lower front. Leading Melbourne band, supported top overseas acts 1960s.

Henri Bource (sax) lower front. Leading Melbourne band, supported top overseas acts 1960s.

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Mike Perry checks our boat, Amity Point, Queensland

We three rented a cabin where, at high tide, the sea water was under the floor. That cabin and many others have since disappeared as the western coast of this big sandy island slowly washes away.

The Australian mainland is seen in the distance, across Moreton Bay. To the south out of sight is The Gold Coast – in the opposite direction is Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane.

Two years ago bull shark(s) attacked and killed a swimmer just 50 meters from where Mike is standing.

Our shark diving was around the corner and offshore at a small rocky island 3 km from the holiday village of Point Lookout.

Occasional large tiger sharks are a possibility, attracted by the availability of  stingrays and a few manta rays.

LARGE SHARK BITES OUR DINGHY

February 15, 2016 § Leave a comment


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1. Sharks love the color red. 2. Sharks are said to be attracted to dogs 3. It’s a mistake to bump into a shark with a boat – especially when following one like the above, at any speed.
Ben Cropp moments later.BEN CROPP and I assumed it was a tiger shark by the actions it displayed.

Could it have been a cranky Lemon shark – not an uncommon species at Batt Reef, and far out-numbered by the Tigers?

John D. Stevens (CSIRO) when asked for a shark ID, replied (in part): “It’s not a tiger shark, species unidentifiable”.

The confusion came after we saw numerous tiger sharks on the reef shallows earlier the same morning, attracted by – possibly – a harpooned dugong, sea turtle, or stingray – something large enough  when injured to  provided a stimulus attraction.

These were big sharks, 2.5 meters and upwards, with a single four meter monster seen the next day.

This seemed unusual for so many in a small area.

Batt Reef is a large and mostly sandy and shallow running some ten nautical miles in length, located off Port Douglas, Queensland.  It is not a destination for tourist visitors.  Quite a private place.

DSC02387 shark-story1-Destroyed pontoon moments after shark left (Custom)-001 1-Tiger shark now side on

 One of four shots taken.

One of four shots taken.

 

SHARK RESEARCHERS 1960s – primitive beginnings

December 4, 2015 § Leave a comment


1-2015-12-03

One million dollars in 1975 would be worth ten times that in 2014

One million dollars in 1975 would be worth ten times that in 2014

"Jaws" author became a friend of sharks and an accidental millionaire. An inexperienced diver he was in great danger while appearing in an underwater sharks documentary film.

“Jaws” author became a friend of sharks and an accidental millionaire. An inexperienced diver he was in great danger while appearing in an underwater sharks documentary film.

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Shark wrangling without baited hooks. At this remote location the sharks were both curious and competitive for food being offered.

Shark wrangling without baited hooks. At this remote location the sharks were both curious and competitive for food being offered.

Upper deck.  Dr. Don Ahern (with super8), John Harding (senior), Roy Bisson, Dr. Colin Friendship, Liz Henn (hostess).

On platform.  John Harding Jr with 16mm camera, Dr Richard Ibara (shark wrangling), Alan Muryama (assistant).

Ron Taylor picture at Chesterfield Reef, The Coral Sea.