Experience: Commercial Fisherman, Cruise Skipper
Regions: Otago, Catlins, Foveaux Strait, Fiordland
Interview Location: Milford Sound, NZ
Interview Date: 06 February 2016
Post Date: 01 December 2017; Copyright © 2017 Dave Taylor and Steve Crawford
3. WHITE POINTER DISTRIBUTION AND ABUNDANCE
CRAWFORD: Did the old-timers ever tell you there were places where you fished that were considered to be sharky?
TAYLOR: The old-timers seemed to think that if you found them, they were between Sawyers Bay and around the [Taiaroa] Heads of Dunedin. They reckon they were quite often seen from Nuggets south to Slope Point. I think, where the shelf is closer to the coast, or more rugged terrain - they seemed to be the places where they were.
CRAWFORD: Ok. With regard to Sawyers Bay ... you fished out of Taieri Mouth, but occasionally you fished out of Port Chalmers?
CRAWFORD: And when you say Sawyers Bay, do you mean the inner part of Otago Harbour?
CRAWFORD: Did you ever hear about anyone seeing White Pointers in Otago Harbour? The outer or the inner harbour?
TAYLOR: KZ-7 was probably the only one, and I'd forgotten all about it until you mentioned it to me. I do remember the old fella, Lewis in there. They thought they were the shark hunters. Whether or not they caught a big fish, I can't remember.
CRAWFORD: Do you recall whether there was any distinction between the inner versus the outer harbour?
TAYLOR: Nothing that I can recall.
CRAWFORD: What about White Pointers north of Otago Peninsula?
TAYLOR: We spent a lot of time in Blueskin Bay, back off out the deeps coming up. We were out in 20 fathoms. So, as far as them coming in to there, we hadn't seen a lot of sharks. Hadn't seen White Pointers I should say, we had seen some sharks. And I had seen a lot of sharks in the later years, in the 2000s.
CRAWFORD: Do you recall the old-timers or your mates ever talking about seeing White Pointers north of the Otago Peninsula?
TAYLOR: No, I didn't really talk to a lot of guys up there. I just knew two or three fishermen, and we worked quietly up in there. There was a couple of old fisherman I did talk to now and then, to say G'day to. But because I was a new guy, an outsider .... I didn't go into the pub and drink with them. I travelled back home.
CRAWFORD: Your home region would have been more from Brighton south?
CRAWFORD: For those guys in that region, including Taieri Mouth, were there particular regions they reckoned it was kind of sharky?
TAYLOR: A lot of the guys that worked out of Taieri Mouth, were the Cray boats, and they worked down as far as Clutha River mouth. A fellow, [Bill Boddy], he Crayfished out of Hinahina south. And me being a trawlerman, I went past there all winter and was seeing things. But these guys were only working as far as the Nuggets. So, them seeing White Pointers ... it’s not something we talked about. We discussed in later years about more sharks being seen, but there was nothing said about White Pointers that I recall.
CRAWFORD: Nothing specific like that?
TAYLOR: A White Pointer wasn't something we expected to see here. We always thought that was an Australian fish. Of course, it’s all really blowing up here now. But there might be a rogue one we would see. There might be more, there might be less.
TAYLOR: Not really, no.
CRAWFORD: Ok. Let’s go down to Foveaux Strait, because you fished the southern end of the South Island.
TAYLOR: More Te Waewae Bay, in around there.
CRAWFORD: Did you get to know the guys fishing there as well? Or was it the same kind of thing as Port Chalmers?
TAYLOR: Seasonal for a few months.
CRAWFORD: Never heard about White Pointers in Te Waewae Bay either?
CRAWFORD: Back in the day when you were fishing, did you ever hear about White Pointers around Stewart Island?
CRAWFORD: The issue just never came up?
CRAWFORD: Ok. Let’s focus on the time you've spent in Milford Sound. When you started working here two years ago, since then have you spent any significant amount of time south or north of here?
TAYLOR: I went on a trip on a boat down here, bringing a boat back from the west coast.
CRAWFORD: A coastal. Those are once a season?
TAYLOR: Not even that. I've only been twice in my life.
CRAWFORD: Ok then, let’s focus on Milford Sound specifically. I think we reckoned you had done approximately 1000 cruises over your two years working here?
CRAWFORD: And you have not seen a White Pointer in Milford Sound?
CRAWFORD: Have you ever heard about White Pointers in Milford Sound?
TAYLOR: There's a story about a White Pointer that was eating a Seal, but that was a little bit vague. Maybe a story to tell. But no, I've never seen a shark in here.
CRAWFORD: In terms of anything that you might have heard regarding White Pointers along the west coast generally? The guys that are going further south or north from here - any indication that White Pointers would occasionally be seen?
TAYLOR: We don't actually relate to the fisherman here at all. We use to meet them when we had the pub here, but we haven't got that now, so we don't hear those stories. As far as seeing anything of White Pointers or any sharks on this side? No.
Copyright © 2017 Dave Taylor and Steve Crawford