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In this country, sharks are ‘sung’ to and hand-caught

Like tigers, sharks live deep in the ocean. In addition to its aerodynamic body that enables it to swim fast, its colours that allow it to blend in with the surrounding environment, and it’s razor- sharp teeth, the apex predator has an incredible sense of smell that can detect blood from two miles away. They are caught by hand by some people in Papua New Guinea, though! As they catch them, people sing to them. Absolutely! This is how it works!

A traditional fisherman’s practice known as ‘shark calling’ was established in Papua New Guinea, an island nation north of Australia, among the villages of Messi, Kono and Kontu. After showing respect for their ancestors, the shark is caught by singing the names of their ancestors. A coconut rattle is shaken in water to attract sharks from deep. Sharks are then caught by hand. Sharks are believed to represent ancestral spirits in this culture. Fishermen can also catch sharks without injuring themselves if they exhibit respect for them.

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For these people, ‘shark calling’ is more than just a practice; it is a philosophy. Communication between men and sharks is viewed by the elders of these villages as a reflection of a man’s life. In their view, the only successful shark callers are those who don’t drink, womanize or steal from others.


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