National Geographic : 1932 Sep
SHARK FISHING-AN AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY face. And when he dons his blood-stained apron, bares his mus cular arms, and deli cately tests the keen ness of his big collec tion of knives, then the great fish is headed for a shark's equiva lent of the Hereafter. First, however, Charlie must have his hand-rolled smoke, an irregular bulgy af fair that never leaves his mouth until it is the veriest wisp of a fag. Once this is alight, he proceeds to translate the shark into hard cash-to separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were. SOUTH SEA ISLANDERS DO NOT USE SHARKS' TEETH AS MONEY The salvaged por tions, in order of value, are the hide, the liver, the fins, and the stomach bag. Con trary to prevailing opinion, the teeth are valueless. It is gen erally believed that sharks' teeth pass as currency in many of A "BAD MAN" OF the South Sea Islands; A tiger shark ut althou h tee A tiger shark be but although teeth, Some of the strand ranging from the hooksarenotused1 razor-edged fangs of the tiger to the ivory stilettos of the gray nurse, have been hawked throughout the islands, they have never found a market. To revert to the commercialization. First the shark is killed. No stunning or near-killing this time. Charlie's most wicked-looking knife performs some hara kiri-ish evolutions, and when they are completed the shark is dead, extremely dead. Next the carcass is washed and Charlie sets about cutting away the fins and begins skinning. This is a most deli cate job, for one false cut and the value of the hide is materially lessened. What makes the cutting so difficult is the toughness of the hide. It is rough and Photograph by Norman W. Caldwell STHE DEEP NEARS TIIE END OF HIS TETHER ing hauled aboard the Devil near a rocky shore. s of net may be seen below his gills. The great to catch the fish, but merely to haul them aboard. thick and stubborn, a veritable piscatorial coat of mail, and each cut plays havoc with the skinning knife. So much so, that after six incisions hone or oilstone must be brought into play. However, in a few minutes the shark's clothes look like a cubist cross-word puzzle. Then it is tug and pull until the hide is off. After shark and hide have parted com pany, the latter is "beamed"-the flesh is cleared away from the inner side. This is done by Ping. He stretches the hide over what looks like a big convex washing board, minus the "wrinkles," and scrapes away with a cleaverlike instrument (373).