des 14 2009

Unique film showing the hunt for basking sharks

Published by at 8:09 pm under Fishing history,Sharks

For several decades fishermen caught basking shark by using a harpoon gun. This fishery was common along most of the Norwegian coast and each vessel could catch several sharks each day. The fishery was grounded on the demand for the high quality shark-liver oil (also used for high temperature engines) and the high priced shark-fins.

The season started in spring and the fishery was depended on calm sea. In the 18th century this was a dangerous fishery as the fishermen used hand harpoons and small boats on the open sea. Larger vessels and the harpoon gun (as seen on the film) made the fishery more efficient and safer. The harpoon was shot through the basking shark and the shark was then forced to the surface. In order to kill the shark the fishermen used a rifle and aimed for its head.

The Norwegian basking shark fishery has been history for a couple of decades and the basking shark is preserved in Norwegian waters.

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Unique film showing the hunt for basking sharks”

  1. Jameson 24 mar 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Wow, once again amazing footage. The Norwegians were the last to fish for basking sharks, and thankfully the last targetted catch was in 2005. If you want to see some older footage, search for «The Man of Aran». It was a docu-film made on the Aran Islands here on the West of Ireland and shows men fishing from small traditional boats (at times it looks like the shark is fishing them). There is currently research ongoing in Ireland where we are tagging sharks to study their distribution. You can find out more on

  2. adminon 24 mar 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Yes, I have seen «The Man of Aran» and it is a fantastic documentary. The Norwegians used the same methode (open boats) before the harpoon gun was invented. It was indeed a dramatic and dangerous hunt.

  3. Boat Tackleon 29 sept 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Excellent read. Well done on the footage, superb.

  4. Dr Alex Johnstonon 09 jan 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Great article and great information. That video is something else. Id say your heart was pumping filming that.

  5. Loan Consolidationon 04 mar 2011 at 11:11 am

    For some reason, I can’t see all of this text, stuff keeps hiding? Are you utilizing something crazy?