May 17 2012
In the 1970′s the basking shark was a common shark in The North Sea. Fishermen were hunting the big shark in spring and summer. For many Norwegian fishermen this hunt was an important part of the income.
The basking shark was not used for food but this large shark had a lot of valuable liver. The oil extracted from the liver was highly priced as it was used in high-temperature-engines. In the 1970′s the fishermen also cut off the fins which was sold to Asia and used in shark-fin soup.
This fishery (or hunt) has now been banned for a couple of decades. The price of the liver (and oil) has dropped due to synthetic alternatives.
During the 1980′s it was clear that the basking shark was not as numerous as in the past. Overfishing, a drop in prices and the moral aspect about this catch led to a stop in this hunt. In Norwegian waters it is not allowed to hunt for basking shark, Greenland shark or porbeagle.
It is easy to judge what former generations did for a living and the hunt for basking shark may look cruel to most of those who see the film. Still the hunt for basking shark was one of many fisheries and the film shows a piece of cultural history. Here is another film from this fishery.