Gizo Resident Earns Living from Shark Fishing

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WHILE some are concentrating on coastal fishing in the remote islands of Western province, Solomon Islands, Peter Fay is braving the waters fishing sharks.

Peter, 55, a Gilbertese settler from Titiana community, Gizo Island have fished for decades. He knows shark waters. His traditional knowledge is priceless and it’s used to catch them for sale at the Gizo Market in the heart of the Western provincial capital.

I often catch small and adult sharks feeding from tunas near fishing rafters between islands of Rendova and Simbo, says Peter.

Sharks have been taking advantage of huge number of tuna species feeding from Fishing Aggregate Devises (FAD) off the coast of islands which makes it easier for Peter to catch them on his fishing line.

“I often travel 43 kilometres away from Gizo island to the fishing rafters on my 15 horse powered fibreglass canoe, it is exactly two hours to reach my destination.

In a desperate economic climate caused by the covid-19 pandemic, Peter, like countless others, saw the sea as his only viable alternative. “Fishing is my life,” he says. “I had a family to feed and support family especially meet my children’s education and food.”

Small sharks sales at the Gizo Market.

“I often catch and sale small and adult sharks for local consumption at the Gizo Market. I also remove and sell the fins to Chinese buyers for export.

“I love my job, since I can boss myself and I get to work whenever I want to. And fishing helps me a lot, it enables me to have the things my family needs,” he said.

Meanwhile, Peter described sharks as a best delicacy in his Gilbertese culture with 80 percent meat and less bones.

“Shark meat tastes amazing,” he said. Just squiz out the blood, marinate with spices and cooked it well and you will enjoy it.”

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