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Learner story archives

August 29, 2005

This week, we have a story written by Royall Baker, from Arichat, Nova Scotia. She is enrolled in the Adult Learning Program at the Richmond County Literacy Network, in Arichat, which is on Cape Breton Island.

My Dad went Shark Fishing

by Royall Baker

My dad is a fisherman. He is forty-eight years old and has been a fisherman for about forty of those years. I have only been around for nineteen of those forty years but have seen and learned a lot of things about his occupation.

The most exciting trip that my dad has ever told me about was the time that he went shark fishing. He was gone for one hundred one days on a boat far out to sea. He brought us a home video that all the work that the fishermen have to do.

The way they catch shark is amazing. There is a really long steel fishing line that goes hundreds of feet under the water with approximately thirty or forty hooks attached to it with bait on them. When a shark gets caught on one of the hooks, they turn on this big pulley and it hauls the sharks up to the boat where the fishermen immediately slit the shark's throat.

I think it's awesome because after the shark's head has been fully cut off, the shark is still living and can still bite a person if they get too close. One bit my dad's foot one time and pulled his rubber boot right off. I couldn't believe that once their heads were decapitated that they could still attack.

After they cut the head off, they cut the fins off. The fins are actually worth more then the rest of the shark meat. The Chinese think they are an aphrodisiac and use them to make a soup that cost fifty dollars a bowl. Then the fishermen clean out the inside of the shark and put all of them in a big row on the deck until they get a chance to put them on ice in the hold.

My dad brought my little brother a whole set of shark teeth one time; they were very big and very sharp. I thought it was interesting that you could remove a whole set of teeth from the shark's mouth without breaking them apart. I also learned that sharks have no bones whatsoever. When the fishermen finish clean the inside of the shark you can look right through it like a tube.

Fishermen work very hard, and I saw proof on the video that my dad brought home to us. I thought it was an amazing thing to be able to do all that hard work and, of course, I thought that seeing all the sharks and their anatomy was great. However, I hope my father never goes out shark fishing again because one hundred one days was far too long.

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