Steve Hill

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YOB: 1958
Experience: Recreational Fisherman
Regions: Canterbury, Catlins
Interview Location: Curio Bay, NZ
Interview Date: 11 January 2016
Post Date: 11 November 2017; Copyright © 2017 Steve Hill and Steve Crawford

5. WHITE POINTER ENCOUNTERS - EXPERIENCES OF OTHERS

CRAWFORD: Any descriptions by other people in this region that you may have heard about, when it comes to shark encounters?

HILL: I know people who have caught White Pointers out here - ones that have been tagged. 

CRAWFORD: Who around here has caught White Pointers? 

HILL: Brian Smith, who used to run a charter service fishing boat out here. He's gone to receivership; the boat is still back in Waikawa at the moment. 

CRAWFORD: He ran a recreational fishing charter?

HILL: Yes.

CRAWFORD: And you heard from him that he once caught a White Pointer ...

HILL: No, that was about two or three times, yeah. 

CRAWFORD: When do you recall hearing from Brian about this? 

HILL: That would be just over a year ago? Yeah.

CRAWFORD: Where about did he catch these White Pointers? 

HILL: About half way between Haldane and Curio Bay. 

CRAWFORD: So, according to Brian, his recreational fishing charter operation caught multiple White Pointers, and some of them with tags on them. 

HILL: Yes, yeah. 100%. 

CRAWFORD: Ok. That’s important, thank you. Do you remember anything else he told you about catching those White Pointers? 

HILL: No. He just said he let them go again. And I can’t recall if he took the number down or whatever, but he said they were tagged and that, and he had to work in with DOC, because of his permit to fish.

CRAWFORD: What do you mean ‘work in with’?

HILL: Like he had to also work in with the counting of the Dolphins out here, as well as the Penguins.

CRAWFORD: So, he had to have some type of normal reporting with DOC, and it’s quite likely that DOC ...

HILL: They'll have it on file. 

CRAWFORD: Well, I have a request in to DOC already for incidental catch information, in which case it may very well be that his reports are there. Where can I find Brian?

HILL: I don’t know. He's gone - maybe about a year ago.

CRAWFORD: Where is he based out of now, Invercargill? 

HILL: Oh, he’s on the run from financial issues. I don’t know any details.

CRAWFORD: Ok, that’s fine. We'll leave it at that. Any other descriptions by people in this region, when it comes to shark encounters?

HILL: Yes. Waikawa harbour, in between the two wharfs around there. There’s been two dogs lost there to sharks. A lady come into the shop and said, "Oh, I want to take my dog for a swim." "Oh," I said, "You can’t really put them out here because of the Dolphins." I said, "You should go back to Waikawa." So, she took one of the dogs back to Waikawa, and let it have a swim in the water between the wharfs, and a shark come along and took the wee dog. 

CRAWFORD: When was this? 

HILL: Three years ago. Two dogs went missing in 6 months. 

CRAWFORD: Right at the wharf?

HILL: Yes, yep. 

CRAWFORD: What time of year? 

HILL: It would be about November

CRAWFORD: November again. And had anybody ever talked about losing dogs to sharks in this region, as far as you knew? 

HILL: No, no, no. Because as you know, when a dog gets wet, it gets that very strong smell, you know? 

CRAWFORD: Did the woman see the shark take her dog?

HILL: Yes, yes, definitely. Oh, she come back to me and was absolutely beside herself. Oh jeez. 

CRAWFORD: What did she say happened?

HILL: She come in - I couldn’t understand her at first. She was upset emotionally, and trying to tell me. Well she just went on about her dog, you know? Had been taken by a shark. And I said, "Where?" and she says, "Back at the wharf where you told me to go." Well I sort of didn’t say to go to the wharf, I said to go to Waikawa, you know?

CRAWFORD: And what did she say happened? 

HILL: She said the dog was there, it was in probably about 3 or 4 feet of water, and the shark just come along and chomp! - just took it. 

CRAWFORD: She's in shock for sure. Did you get a sense from her the size of description of the shark? 

HILL: I said "How big was it?" She said, "It was a big shark." And that’s all she said. 

CRAWFORD: Anybody, especially somebody who has just lost their family pet ...

HILL: Very emotional. And it happened twice! 

CRAWFORD: Tell me about the second time. How long after was the second dog taken? 

HILL: After probably about March. 

CRAWFORD: At the Waikawa wharf again?

HILL: Yeah. And this couple, they’ve always taken their dog down there, you know? Come out here for a drive. 

CRAWFORD: Have always? Like for years and years? 

HILL: Yeah. This old dog was probably about 21 years old. A little white poodle. 

CRAWFORD: What happened?

HILL: Shark come along, and just grabbed it. 

CRAWFORD: Did you talk to them as well?

HILL: Yeah, well once again, they’re upset. And she said it was just a big shark. Brownish black, she said. Yeah.

CRAWFORD: So, we may be dealing with different kinds of sharks in different regions. But that doesn’t rule out a brownish black shark from having taken the Seals here at the point either. It's important for us to not jump to conclusions. White Pointers are doing things while other sharks are doing things as well. 

HILL: Yeah, exactly. 

CRAWFORD: Has anybody to your knowledge, the old-timers, anybody else along this section of the coastline, ever talked about seeing White Pointers in these waters - that you’re aware of?

HILL: No.

Copyright © 2017 Steve Hill and Steve Crawford